Rep. Diane Black says states should be allowed to divert federal family planning funds away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The Tennessee Republican – a member of the congressional pro-life caucus – testified Tuesday before the House Rules Committee in support of H.J. Res. 43, her resolution to overturn former President Barack Obama’s administrative rule that forces states to provide Title X family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
“As members of this committee may know, Title X has existed as a federal family planning grant program since 1970, and states have always had the freedom and flexibility to dole out those grants to the providers of their choice,” Black stated, adding that in her home state of Tennessee, “we’ve been able to effectively use our share of Title X funding to provide women and families with the care they need, all while asserting our state’s right to steer these taxpayer dollars away from abortion providers.”
“Now, under this eleventh hour Obama Administration rule – finalized after President Trump was elected and made enforceable just two days before he took office – Tennessee has lost that right,” Black testified.
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 eliminating such funding.
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 referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for possible criminal prosecution by the Texas Attorney General.
Black said it is “not the role of politicians in Washington to usurp states’ 10th Amendment rights and substitute our judgment for that of state and local leaders.”
“We must return to a point where states are empowered to make their own healthcare decisions – based on the unique needs of their constituency – without fear of reprisal from the federal government,” she added.
Black asserted the Obama administration’s rule was also not “grounded in fact.”
For example, the rule stated that health care providers with a focus on reproductive health – for example Planned Parenthood – can “accomplish Title X programmatic objectives more effectively.” This is demonstrably false.
According to Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive services dropped by 18% over the last year. And their total number of services provided dropped by 11% even as their taxpayer funding increased by millions and their abortions continued at over 320,000 a year.
What’s more, the research that the Obama Administration cited in this rule is far from unbiased.
Consider this: The finalized HHS rule cites “research” from the Guttmacher Institute nearly half a dozen times throughout its pages. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Guttmacher was formerly an entity housed within Planned Parenthood Federation of America and is even named after a former Planned Parenthood President.
Black explained that while her resolution does not “defund” Planned Parenthood outright, it does respect the desires of individual states that have already acted to withhold Title X family planning funds from abortion providers.
More than a dozen states have attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s funding in the wake of the release of videos in 2015 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 health care 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.
Planned Parenthood tweeted out its disapproval of Black’s resolution, referring to pro-life members of Congress as “extremists”:
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) February 14, 2017
Black’s resolution of disapproval is scheduled for a vote on the House floor later this week.