Huge Step in Defunding Big Abortion

Newly Proposed HHS Rule on Title X Would Block $60 Million of Our Tax Dollars from Planned Parenthood and the Abortion Industry

OLIVIA SUMMERS, ACLJ

For far too long, taxpayer dollars have been used to fund the abortion industry. Last week, we informed you that we joined 85 pro-life groups in sending a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding that tax dollars no longer be used to fund Big Abortion.

Now, the Trump Administration has announced a proposed rule that will cut taxpayer funding for abortion clinics – like Planned Parenthood – that provide abortion services. It will cut approximately $60 million of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding – a significant step in defunding the abortion giant.

This proposed rule will undergo a period for public comment, and it is imperative that you join with us in vocalizing your support of this pro-life rule.

Every year under Title X (using our tax dollars as the source of its funding), the Federal Government provides grants to abortionists like Planned Parenthood for “family planning services.” In fact, Planned Parenthood accounts for as much as 41% of these Title X funds.

Yet the abortion industry was never intended to get a dime of these taxpayer funds. Under the express language of Title X, “[n]one of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

However, while the law is clear, for decades this provision has been interpreted to merely prohibit these grants from being used to directly fund abortion by requiring financial separation between Title X projects and abortion activities. Yet that’s not what the law says. The law is clear that “[n]one of the funds” can be used for a program that uses “abortion [a]s a method of family planning” – which Planned Parenthood does to the tune of more than 320,000 abortions a year.

The reality is money is fungible. So, while it may look like tax dollars are not being directly used to pay for abortions, the grant money subsidizes abortion clinics’ supposed “other” services, freeing up other revenue to boost the abortion industry.

For example, if a patient visits a clinic that did not “provide” abortion services, that clinic can refer the patient to another clinic that does perform abortions. Often that referral is to a clinic that shares the same facilities and even the same staff as the referring clinic. According to HHS, “[S]hared facilities, common staff, and single file systems between Title X supported activities and non-Title X abortion-related activities” had been allowed.

Recognizing this problem, the Reagan Administration issued a regulation in 1988 that required physical separation of abortion activities and non-abortion activities. Thus, no longer could a clinic that received a Title X grant refer a patient to an abortion clinic with which it shared facilities and staff. After the Reagan Rule was entered into the Federal Registrar, it was challenged in court and upheld on both statutory and constitutional grounds in a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan. Unfortunately, the policy was rescinded under President Clinton – until now.

Now, HHS has announced that it will be reinstating that regulation. HHS issued a proposed rule that will “ensure compliance with, and enhance implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning . . . .”

Once this rule goes into effect, it will effectively ban all $260 million dollars in annual Title X funding from going to the abortion industry, redirecting that taxpayer money from abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, to actual family planning clinics. Thus, contrary to the claims of abortion supporters, there is no decrease in federal funding for those seeking health services.

Again, this rule will undergo a 60-day public comment period during which the public can express support for, or opposition to, the rule.

Without question, pro-abortion radicals will oppose this rule in droves. That is why the ACLJ will be preparing a public comment and an opportunity for you to sign onto that comment. Let’s let HHS and the Trump Administration know that we overwhelmingly support this rule. We stand for life, and Planned Parenthood’s abortion machine shouldn’t get another dime of our tax dollars.


Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.


Olivia Summers is Associate Counsel for Public Policy with the ACLJ, focusing on pro-life advocacy and protecting the freedoms of speech and religion. Olivia earned her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law. While at Regent, Olivia clerked for the ACLJ and served as a board member for Regent Journal of International Law, was a member of the Honor Council, and was actively involved in Regent Students for Life. In addition, Olivia spent one summer interning at the ECLJ where she gained experience in international law and human rights issues. Prior to attending Regent, Olivia earned her B.A. in History from the University of Wyoming. Olivia joined the ACLJ full-time after graduating from Regent. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and Washington D.C.