The House approved a resolution to overturn a last minute Obama Administration rule forcing states to provide Title X family planning grants to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
H.J. Res. 43, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), was approved Thursday, 230-188. The resolution, which uses the Congressional Review Act to rescind the Obama Administration rule, must now go to the Senate before reaching the desk of President Donald Trump.
In leading the debate on the House floor in support of the resolution, Black said, “Despite the histrionics you may hear on the other side of the aisle today, with this resolution we are not voting to defund Planned Parenthood, voting to cut Title X funding, or voting to restrict abortion rights.”
“Madam Speaker, we are simply voting today to affirm the right of states to fund the healthcare providers that best suit their needs, without fear of reprisal from their own federal government,” she added.
In December, Obama’s deputies in the Department of Health and Human Services released the final rule that favored Planned Parenthood by barring states from diverting family planning funding from the abortion chain to federally qualified health centers that do not perform abortions.
The rule was released one day after the Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood and several biomedical procurement companies with which it partners to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
Additionally, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives had just referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for possible criminal prosecution by the Texas Attorney General.
Pro-life leaders applauded the House’s approval of the resolution.
“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,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, in a statement. “The Obama Administration’s ruling defies states’ right to choose Title X providers, including the ability to exclude abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”
“New videos investigating Planned Parenthood show why today’s House vote on H.J. Res.43 is an important victory for states’ rights to spend taxpayer dollars on community health centers that provide comprehensive care, rather than channeling money to the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics,” said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association. “Planned Parenthood has been embroiled in controversy since the 2015 release of sting videos revealing its involvement in the ghoulish marketing and sale of fetal body parts, including fetal brains, livers, and hearts.”
President of Students for Life of America, Kristan Hawkins, observed, “While this is merely taking back the small parting gift that President Obama left Planned Parenthood, the real prize is getting the Reconciliation bill passed by both Houses and signed by President Trump. We are hopeful this bill is a step towards ultimately defunding the nation’s abortion giant.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said, “It’s outrageous that the Obama administration issued a lame-duck rule that forces states to fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.”
“This House vote to nullify that rule will restore to states their proper role in deciding which clinics and organizations are best suited to receive taxpayer funds,” he added. “An overwhelming percentage of Americans do not want their tax money to pay for abortions.”
SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said:
President Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry was in keeping with his Administration’s actions over the last eight years. At every turn, then-President Obama thwarted efforts by state and local authorities – who were acting on the will of the people – to prioritize taxpayer funding away from Big Abortion. Obama’s legacy of forcing Americans to finance the abortion industry is being steadily dismantled by our new pro-life President and the pro-life Congress. We look forward to swift passage of this resolution in the Senate so that it can receive President Trump’s signature.
Abortion rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America, however, released a statement criticizing the House’s approval of the resolution.
“I dare the GOP to justify today’s actions under the guise of serving women’s health and safety,” said Ilyse Hogue, NARAL president. “They can’t. Their obsession with denying women access to reproductive healthcare is grounded in a need to control women and keep us in ‘our place.’”
— NARAL (@NARAL) February 16, 2017
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in our nation, performing over 320,000 abortions every year.
More than a dozen states have attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s funding in the wake of the release of the videos that alleged the abortion chain harvests the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics and sells them for profit. These states have redirected the funding to other healthcare centers that have met the federal government’s criteria.
Federally qualified healthcare centers (FQHCs) provide more comprehensive services than Planned Parenthood to low-income families. Nationally, there are 13,000 FQHCs – a figure that outnumbers Planned Parenthood facilities by 20 to 1.
Despite the overwhelming number of FQHCs, however, the Obama administration, an avid supporter of the nation’s largest abortion business, said that by redirecting funding away from Planned Parenthood, the states “have interfered with” low-income individuals’ ability to access federal assistance quickly.