Obama Administration Seeks to Block States From Defunding Planned Parenthood

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Coming in the wake of efforts by as many as 14 states to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration last Wednesday enacted a new HHS mandate that will bar states from cutting funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

The press release issued by HHS said that the purpose of the final rule was to protect access to family planning services:

In the past several years, a number of states have taken actions to restrict participation by certain types of providers as subrecipients in the Title X Program, unrelated to the provider’s ability to provide family planning services. This has caused limitations in the geographic distribution of services and decreased access to services.

The final rule clarifies the Title X program regulations by adding that no grant recipient making subawards for the provision of services as part of its Title X project may prohibit an entity from participating for reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services.

The new provision essentially seeks to prevent states from restricting funding to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. The law requires that state and local governments distribute federal funds for services related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections, etc., even if the health care providers also provide access to abortions.The law will go into effect January 18, 2017, two days before Donald Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States.

Lawmakers recently conducted a hearing to investigate possible illegal conduct in Planned Parenthood’s business practices.  Videos released last year by the Center for Medical Progress reveal that Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue and aborted baby body parts.

Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI and the Justice Department for criminal investigation based on a review of Planned Parenthood’s documents and financial records.

By means of this mandate, pro-choice advocates have obtained a temporary victory.  Although a temporary setback for the pro-life community, the fight is far from over.  Republicans will be in the majority in the upcoming administration, and this law, which Rep. Diane Black referred to as “an 11th hour power grab”, could be overturned.  

Describing the nature of the obstacle presented by these newest pro-abortion regulations, Rep. Black stated:

Come next year, our pro-life majorities in Congress will be positioned to work with President-elect Donald Trump and pro-life nominee for secretary of health and human services, Dr. Tom Price, to not only roll back this latest overreach but also to enact new legal protections for these most vulnerable members of our society.

Effecting a repeal of the law would be possible by passing a new law, or a joint resolution from both the House and Senate, with concurrence by the new President, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Notwithstanding claims to the contrary from pro-abortion advocates, diverting funds from Planned Parenthood would not leave women destitute of health care.

The health care services that Planned Parenthood provides grow increasingly smaller, yet the organization claims that abortion is only one service among many that it seeks to provide for women.

Over the course of two years, from 2012-2014, the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood dropped by 10 percent, according to the Washington Times.
No decline in the availability or quality of women’s health care services need follow a removal of funds from Planned Parenthood. The funds could instead be granted to health care clinics much more deserving of the support of taxpayers’ money–and that do not perform abortions.

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