House votes to allow states to deny funding to Planned Parenthood
Catholic News Agency Feb. 17, 2017
Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2017 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House voted Thursday to allow states to choose not to fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers with federal dollars, repealing an Obama administration rule from December.
“As a registered nurse, I know that vulnerable women seeking true comprehensive care deserve better than abortion-centric facilities like Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who introduced the resolution, stated before its Feb. 16 passage.
Back in December, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that states cannot deny federal Title X family planning grants to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood simply because they perform abortions. States, the administration said, could only deny funding to clinics that did not provide the services for which Title X funds are meant.
While federal dollars cannot directly fund abortions, pro-life leaders insist that taxpayer dollars going to the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood free up resources for them to perform more abortions. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, called the rule a “parting gift to the abortion industry.”
Black introduced H.J. Res. 43 to repeal the rule, under the Congressional Review Act. The resolution passed the House on Thursday 229 to 188. The move comes as pro-life groups are reporting poor care and abuses at Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide, from affiliates using taxpayer funds for abortion-related services to many clinics not providing prenatal care to clinics setting monthly quotas for abortions or abortion referrals.
“Planned Parenthood which, according to their latest annual report, performed 323,999 abortions in a single year, does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars,” Dannenfelser insisted. “We look forward to swift passage of this resolution in the Senate so that it can receive President Trump’s signature,” she said.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie of The Catholic Association commented: "We applaud the House for voting to rescind a last minute Obama Administration regulation that allows states to take their taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars away from the severely limited Planned Parenthood abortion centers and redirect them to comprehensive health care clinics ... Passing this resolution lets states fund the health clinics that are true lifelines for poor women."
Black claimed that states were for decades allowed to pick which health providers they thought were best to receive Title X funds, and that the Obama administration’s rule set “unprecedented new parameters” on states’ use of the funds. In her state of Tennessee, she said, the state did not cut Title X funds but directed them to county health departments and community health centers.
"We thank Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for leading this measure to restore states’ freedom in choosing Title X providers," Christie stated. "The Obama Administration’s ruling defies states’ right to choose Title X providers, including the ability to exclude abortion providers like Planned Parenthood."
States are not cutting health grants, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, insisted, but are redirecting the funds “to other health clinics that provide women’s health care and don’t engage in abortion.”
In issuing its December rule, the Obama administration had claimed that the states’ actions against Planned Parenthood and other clinics had led to “limitations in the geographic distribution of services and decreased access to services.” However, that was not the case, members maintained on Thursday.
“Prior to the Obama rule, 5 states had chosen to award their Title X funds to non-Planned Parenthood entities,” Smith said. “These five states – Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ohio – account for nearly $16 million in annual Title X funding and serve over 279,000 individuals a year.”
“According to HHS’s own 2015 Title X Family Planning Annual report, our state provided care under Title X to more than 75,000 Tennesseans,” Black stated. “That means we served even more citizens than more populated states like Michigan and Virginia.”