The Biden administration 'is wrong' to allow Title X family planning funds to be used for abortion, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
It is "wrong to allow taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers who participate in a pre-pregnancy program specifically designed to exclude abortion," Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said in an Oct. 7 statement.
"Abortion is not family planning. Abortion takes the life of an already-conceived and growing child," he said. "The violence of abortion wounds countless women physically, spiritually and emotionally."
The administration announced late Oct. 4 that it had officially reversed the Trump-era "Protect Life Rule" enforcing Title X's ban on taxpayer funds from being used to promote or provide elective abortions.
"Title X was intended and authorized to be a program entirely separate from abortion," Archbishop Naumann said, "and it plainly states that 'the funds authorized under this legislation (shall) be used only to support preventive family planning services, population research, infertility services, and other related medical, informational and educational activities.'"
Enacted by the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970, Title X covers reproductive health care services for low-income patients such as wellness exams, cervical and breast cancer screenings, contraceptives, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Section 1008 of the law states that "none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning."
In February 2019, the Trump administration implemented its rule to enforce Section 1008, and the rule was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Feb. 24, 2020.
On Jan. 28, eight days after he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden announced he would rescind the Trump-era rule.
In a Jan. 29 statement, Archbishop Naumann objected to the move by Biden, a Catholic who supports legal abortion, and he reiterated the bishops' objection in an April 16 statement, a day after the Department of Health and Human Services published the administration's proposed rule in the Federal Register, opening a 30-day period for public comment.
The archbishop called it a "terrible policy" that "would reintegrate abortion into what is supposed to be a pre-pregnancy family planning program." He said the "Protect Life Rule" "draws a bright line between abortion and family planning."
He urged Biden "to suspend this proposed rule and leave the Title X program as it was intended and authorized to be -- a program entirely separate from abortion."
In addition, the USCCB filed comments objecting to the proposed rule.