U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

The Trump administration through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to propose new rules for the Title X grant program that would direct taxpayer funding away from the abortion industry.

The original law establishing Title X in 1970 read, “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

Title X recipients were later allowed to provide abortion referrals, lobby for abortion, and even be located in the same facility as an abortion clinic through a broad interpretation of the law provided taxpayer money did not directly fund abortions. In 1988, the Reagan administration implemented rules that reversed that trend. The “Reagan Rules” were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan. President Bill Clinton rescinded the rules in 1993 upon taking office. Under the Clinton administration, Title X receipients were required to provide abortion counseling.

The proposed rules under the Trump administration will be similar to the “Reagan rules” and require physical and financial separation between Title X recipients and abortion providers. Under these new regulations, abortion centers cannot serve as Title X family planning centers, and recipients cannot refer for abortion. They will repeal Clinton-era regulations that require abortion counseling and instead makes this optional.

While these proposed rules make it harder Planned Parenthood could still receive Title X funding if they detangle their family planning services from their abortion services. Also, Planned Parenthood still receives the bulk of its taxpayer funding through Medicaid which can only be stopped by Congress, something they have failed to do.

Pro-life groups applauded the Trump administration’s actions.

“We thank President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, is responsible for more than 300,000 abortions a year and has been receiving $50-60 million in Title X taxpayer funds annually. The Protect Life Rule doesn’t cut a single dime from family planning. It instead directs tax dollars to Title X centers that do not promote or perform abortions, such as the growing number of community and rural health centers that far outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities. President Trump has shown decisive leadership, delivering on a key promise to pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him. This is a major victory which will energize the grassroots as we head into the critical midterm elections.”

“We thank President Trump for the numerous actions his administration has taken to restore pro-life policies. We are encouraged to see the announcement of Title X regulations that are back in line with previous policy that prevents federal dollars from being used to directly or indirectly promote abortion domestically,” Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life Committee, said.

“Obviously the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is apoplectic because they view Title X funds as their personal entitlement. But it is disingenuous to characterize a mere 4% loss of income as a ‘devastating blow.’ As with all grantees, Planned Parenthood and affiliates can choose to comply with the statute or forgo taxpayer support and continue offering these services in whatever fashion they please as a private entity,” Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, stated.

“This is yet another promise fulfilled by President Trump and his administration. It is also a necessary response to the frustration felt by our grassroots over funding for abortion providers in the omnibus and the Senate’s failure to pass a law to redirect Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid dollars to Federally Qualified Health Centers. I applaud the House members and senators who pushed for this, Secretary Azar’s response, and President Trump’s leadership,” she added.

“Title X has been a slush fund for abortion giant Planned Parenthood, helping pay for the advertising, facilities, and staff that help grow its abortion business. This is a crucial step to begin disentangling some of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that help fuel Planned Parenthood’s abortion operations annually,” Lila Rose, President of Live Action, responded.

“In recent years, disturbing reports have surfaced of Planned Parenthood’s abortion quotas that result in the killing of over 320,000 preborn children a year, as well as its decreasing cancer screenings and negligible prenatal care. There is also a litany of evidence showing Planned Parenthood repeatedly failing to report child rape and child sexual abuse, which is an expectation for receiving Title X funds.

“President Trump’s proposal would ensure that taxpayer funds will instead go to thousands of health centers that don’t promote or perform abortions and that are more accessible and offer more health services to women and families. Having seen inside these abortion facilities for over a decade, I know that women and children deserve better,” Rose added.

“Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers will now have to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets Title X dollars and moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, this will loosen the group’s hold on tens of millions of tax dollars,” Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, commented.

“The pro-life Congress will get another crack at Planned Parenthood’s federal gravy train in multiple federal programs in which they get over $400 million each year. Until then, President Trump continues to fulfill his campaign promise that his administration will advocate for mothers and their unborn children every day he occupies the White House and take important steps to ensure taxpayers are not subsidizing the abortion industry” he added.

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