Feds push back on state defunding of Planned Parenthood
Abortion | Opponent calls the rule ‘a last-ditch administrative edict’
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 10/07/16, 05:27 pm
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) closed public comments today on new regulations that would keep states from defunding Planned Parenthood.
In its proposal, HHS said that state attempts to channel Title X funding away from the abortion giant to other qualified healthcare entities led to “deleterious effects.” After the Center for Medical Progress released videos revealing that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted babies, 14 states attempted to strip Planned Parenthood funding.
Title X of the Public Health Services Act, an allocation of taxpayer dollars to family-planning services, stipulates that “projects” must not be abortion providers and may not even promote abortions to patients. But Planned Parenthood receives roughly $60 million a year through Title X by certifying that no federal dollars fund their abortions.
“What the American public has been asked to do is close their eyes and imagine that even though this organization at the end of the day has only one profit and loss ledger, in reality they have two—one that deals with abortion services and one that deals with everything else,” the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Travis Wussow told me.
After the release of the Center for Medical Progress videos, governors in Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere signed legislation effectively blocking state funding from Planned Parenthood by redirecting money to other family planning centers.
Many states leaned on the 1991 case Rust v. Sullivan, in which the Supreme Court ruled government “may make a value judgment” that prioritizes childbirth-focused clinics over abortion clinics.
But opposition has been quick to undo those efforts. In several states, including Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, and Utah, district judges overruled those decisions, saying that if a woman has a constitutional right to abortion, states don’t have a constitutional right to defund abortion centers.
Planned Parenthood sued Texas officials after the state stripped its Medicaid funding. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also blocked Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, only to be overruled by a district judge after Planned Parenthood filed suit.
In Missouri, Florida, Ohio, and Alabama, judges ruled that the state must reimburse the organization's legal fees following embroilments over the disposal of fetal remains, breaking state abortion laws, or canceled state funding.
In Kansas, leaders successfully funneled $330,000 of Title X money away from Planned Parenthood and toward entities that do not perform abortions. The federal government then stripped the state of $370,000 Title X funds.
States that still have laws on the books denying abortion clinics taxpayer dollars stand to be overridden by federal bureaucratic regulations.
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said every county in her state has redirected money from Planned Parenthood to other community health centers. An outspoken voice against the new rule that she called “a last-ditch administrative edict,” Black has co-sponsored a bill that would end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.
“[The new rule] is a transparently political ploy that, if enacted, promises to be a boon for the scandal-ridden abortion provider and a blow to the conscience rights of millions of pro-life American taxpayers,” Black said.
While Planned Parenthood claims that abortions make up only 3 percent of its business, a 2015 study revealed it performed over 70,000 abortions—just under a third of the U.S. total—a year, all while aggressively slashing non-abortive services such as cancer screening and prevention.
“Gone are the days where we should believe that Planned Parenthood is really about some kind of very mundane and very acceptable kind of family planning,” Wussow said. “What the organization is about is expanding their market, expanding their operating budget, and the way they do that is by expanding the number of abortions they are providing each year. It’s an undeniable fact.”
Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.