Some 200 members of Congress and 100 national and state pro-life organizations have joined together to urge the Trump administration to revise Title X family planning funding rules in order to ban abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving the funds.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the pro-life leaders say, “It is time to act swiftly to disentangle abortion centers from the Title X network.”
A Reagan-era rule that banned healthcare providers who received Title X funds from performing or referring patients for abortions was only in effect for a short time due to litigation. Ultimately, President Bill Clinton rescinded it.
The leaders assert that reinstating President Ronald Reagan’s Title X rule would also be consistent with President Donald Trump’s pro-life campaign pledge.
“Abortion is not family planning and the law recognizes that,” the leaders write, adding that such a rule would not ban abortion or abortion referral in the private sector.
Earlier this year, a GAO report revealed that Title X family planning funding is Planned Parenthood’s second largest funding stream and generates some $50-$60 million for the abortion vendor.
Letters were also signed by 41 senators– including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), and Steve Daines (R-MT) – and 153 U.S. House representatives – including Reps. Ron Estes (R-KS), Diane Black (R-TN), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
Leaders expressed outrage that the Republican-led Congress has continued to fund Planned Parenthood.
“President Trump has kept his promise and has delivered huge pro-life victories to the grassroots who worked so hard to elect him,” the pro-life leaders said in a joint statement. “We urge President Trump to once again show decisive leadership and deliver a pro-life victory where Congress has failed.”
Rep. Chris Smith said the Title X family planning program has served as a “slush fund for Planned Parenthood.”
Rep. Diane Black added that abortion is not family planning.
“It is family destruction, and it’s time to ensure that our money is funding actual family planning programs, and not our nation’s largest abortion provider,” she said.
Rep. Ron Estes said updating the Title X rule would “protect life while providing actual family planning care to those who need it, as was intended by the law and upheld by the Supreme Court.”
“We have an opportunity to restore program integrity and to safeguard the vulnerable lives of unborn children,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
Among the pro-life groups whose leaders signed the letter are Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Students for Life of America, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Live Action, Eagle Forum, The Catholic Association, Priests for Life, Secular Pro-Life, Radiance Foundation, March for Life, Americans United for Life, Operation Rescue, Faith & Freedom Coalition, National Black Pro-Life Union, and American Life League.
The joint call of members of Congress and pro-life leaders comes as Axios reports the Trump administration is weighing whether to block abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from Title X family planning funds. If the providers want family planning funds, they could decide to stop performing or referring for abortions.
According to the Axios report, Kellyanne Conway met with Trump on Friday to urge him to follow through with his campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect that funding to other federally qualified health centers that do not perform abortions. These centers provide more comprehensive healthcare services than Planned Parenthood and outnumber the abortion giant 20 to 1. Conway also reportedly pointed out to the president that Planned Parenthood is spending millions on electing Democrats to undermine his agenda.
A regulation to block abortion providers from receiving Title X family planning funds would not also block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds – its primary stream of federal funding.
Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens referred to the call by congressional and pro-life leaders as “outrageous,” reports Axios.
“This is a domestic gag rule – and would be a radical departure from the way health care has operated in the United States up until now,” she said, adding that such a rule would “essentially dismantle the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care, which 4 million people rely on.”