WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Proposed regulations restrict providers’ ability to deliver unbiased patient care for individuals wanting to know about or undergo abortion, according to a perspective piece published online July 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Janet M. Bronstein, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discusses the proposed new regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services for the Title X Family Planning Program, which will alter the mix of health care providers and range of services offered to support the reproductive health and childbearing decisions of low-income individuals in the United States.

Bronstein notes that the proposed regulations alter the rules for referrals when clients seen for family planning are found to be pregnant, permitting, but not requiring, physicians to provide nondirective counseling that can include a discussion of pregnancy termination. For pregnant clients who have decided to have an abortion, physicians may provide a list of comprehensive prenatal care providers; the list cannot indicate which of these provide abortions. In addition, the proposed regulations mandate physical and financial separation between the Title X supported activities and abortions. Sites that provide abortions in addition to other activities will be required to maintain separate accounting records, facilities, personnel, and medical records.

HHS is accepting comments on the proposed regulations through July 31. Most of the provisions will take effect 60 days after publication of the new rules.

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