HHS secretary hails court victory: 'Pro-life administration' stands against federal funding of 'abortion enterprise'

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar hailed the latest court decision to allow the Trump administration to withdraw federal Title X funding from any medical facility that provides abortions, as well as abortion counseling or abortion referrals.

“President Trump, Vice President Pence and I are part of a pro-life administration. We stand for protecting the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death,” Azar said Thursday evening on “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream.”

APPEALS COURT LIFTS INJUNCTIONS ON FAMILY PLANNING RULES, IN WIN FOR TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

“Part of that is this regulation that we put out that prevents these Title X family planning moneys from going to supporting the abortion enterprise,” he added.

“For too long that money has been used to subsidize the provision of abortion contrary to statute. Congress has said that you cannot support abortion as a method of family planning. We're just finally enforcing it.”

“For too long that money has been used to subsidize the provision of abortion contrary to statute. Congress has said that you cannot support abortion as a method of family planning. We're just finally enforcing it.”

— Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – which previously upheld separate nationwide injunctions on a range of Trump administration policies, including on immigration -- issued the order Thursday, giving a major victory to the Trump administration.

Planned Parenthood was among the groups opposing the new rules. The policy has been derided as a "gag rule" by Planned Parenthood.

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“This is a devastating blow to the 4 million patients who obtain birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential care through Title X,” the organization tweeted.

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, who put abortion rights at the forefront of her campaign, slammed the ruling and promised to “fight back.”

“The Trump administration's Title X gag rule will deny access to basic reproductive health care for millions of people. I call that a violation of human rights. We will fight back,” she wrote in a tweet.

But Azar said that Gillibrand is missing the point and actually incorrect in claiming that the ruling will hinder the services provided to women and others.

"That's just completely incorrect to say that this in any way impedes service delivery for women or others at our family planning clinics,” he said. “We have a full range of services, we have fully funded this at 400 million dollars.”

Planned Parenthood “only represents 13 percent of the clinics that provide family planning services under Title X,” Azar continued.

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“Interestingly, over the last eight years Planned Parenthood, which talked so much about cancer screenings and everything else, cancer screenings and preventive services are down 60 percent over the last eight years at Planned Parenthood facilities,” he added.

“Federally qualified health centers and their various affiliates outnumber Planned Parenthood by 20 to one, giving a broader reach of services throughout this country in more rural areas, better depth providing care, preventive services, cancer treatment, HIV treatment etc.”