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Maine Family Planning rejoins federal reproductive health program after Biden lifts restrictions

More than two years after Maine Family Planning dropped out of the Title X program, it's back in.

The organization withdrew from the federal program in 2019, after former President Donald Trump's administration implemented the so-called gag rule that restricted clinics from making referrals for abortions.

Maine Family Planning says rejoining the Title X program will bring nearly $2 million in federal funds each year for more than 50 health clinics across the state.

Title X helps clinics provide reproductive health care for low-income patients, including cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted infections. Federal funding can't be used for abortions except in cases involving rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.

But in 2019, the Trump administration barred clinics in the program from making referrals for abortions, even when patients specifically asked.

That prompted more than a thousand clinics across the U.S. to leave the program — including Maine Family Planning.

They were the sole Title X grantee in Maine, and subsequently used reserve funds and fundraising to continue to provide services for low income patients. But leaders in the organization say that was unsustainable, and last fall the administration of President Joe Biden revoked the gag rule.

In its announcement about rejoining Title X, Maine Family Planning says it will divide the $2 million in annual funds to its 18 clinics and 38 others.