Guided by the hand of the Trump Administration, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines Friday that govern which family planning clinics will receive Title X federal funding. The guidelines include a number of new stipulations that favor abstinence-only education and an emphasis on the rhythm method in place of more effective methods of birth control, a move that appears designed to wrest funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood.

The Title X program has long provided essential federal funding for family planning providers serving primarily the poor, young, and uninsured. The program has never funded abortion. In a news conference on Friday, HHS Acting Deputy Secretary for Population Affairs Valerie Huber announced that the new guidelines feature several important changes that will extend funding to providers who were previously ineligible.

The guidelines heavily emphasize that grant funding will be made available to planning services offering what they鈥檙e calling 鈥渘atural family planning methods,鈥 or 鈥渇ertility awareness methods,鈥 which, according to the HHS鈥 own website, can lead to unintended pregnancy in up to 25 percent of couples who practice such methods.

Incredibly, birth control is not mentioned in the new requirements, a glaring omission, considering that for most people, the phrase is virtually synonymous with family planning.

As Jezebel points out, the new rules also encourage applications from providers offering 鈥a holistic vision of health and those historically underrepresented in the Title X program.鈥

The guidelines also encourage providers specializing in 鈥渁 single method of family planning鈥 to apply 鈥 a move that seems designed to make Title X funding available to religious providers specifically focused on abstinence and 鈥渇ertility awareness methods.鈥 In fact, the guidelines explicitly encourage 鈥渃ooperation with community-based and faith-based organizations,鈥 the very organizations that will be newly eligible for funding under these new rules.

The new HHS guidelines also encourage providers focused on abstinence-only education programs to apply for funding. It鈥檚 not called abstinence anymore, though, but 鈥delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status.鈥 Abstinence-only education and natural family planning methods have not traditionally been a part of Title X.

Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, described the new guidelines as 鈥渢roubling,鈥 saying in a press release, 鈥淚t is contrary to public health to silo contraception from health care in Title X and deliberately shift toward a model focused more on behavior change.鈥

(photos via Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images + Getty Images)