Victory for Life: HHS Releases Final Rule Blocking Planned Parenthood and Other Abortion Providers from Taxpayer Provided Title X Fund

JORDAN SEKULOW, ACLJ

In a major victory for life, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule revising the Title X family planning program, delivering a major blow to abortionists like Planned Parenthood.

The rule ensures that program recipients are in full compliance with the law, particularly the statutory prohibition on funding to programs where abortion services are performed or recommended as a form of family planning.

Last year, we reported that the Trump Administration announced a proposed rule to deny taxpayer funding for any applicants – like Planned Parenthood – that provide abortion services. The rule would cut approximately $60 million of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding – a significant step in defunding the abortion giant. These dollars would instead be awarded to applicants that do not perform or refer for abortion as a method of family planning.

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.”

Under the express language of Title X, “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

Yet, even though the abortion industry was never intended to get a dime of these funds, Planned Parenthood has consistently used its deceptive accounting gimmicks to get around the requirement. As a result, Planned Parenthood has accounted for as much as 41% of Title X services.

The proposed rule was available for the public to weigh in and provide comment. The ACLJ submitted our own public comment in strong support of the rule.

Our comment supports the adoption the proposed rule as it (a) restores Title X to its proper function as the only domestic federal program solely designed to provide affordable family planning services to low income families without promoting abortion or misusing funds to support abortion; (b) increases the means by which women and their families can seek, and the manner in which Title X providers can offer, these services, including the use of natural family planning; and (c) protects women and children by requiring Title X service providers to comply with state and local reporting and notification laws regarding rape, abuse, incest, and neglect.

Now that the comment period has ended and the input received has been reviewed, HHS has issued its final rule. The new rule takes the necessary steps to stop abortionists like Planned Parenthood from continuing to siphon off taxpayer funds from a program they were never intended to be eligible for in the first place.

As stated in the official HHS press release:

The Title X program annually serves approximately 4 million people, and the updated rule seeks to ensure a holistic and health-centered approach, safeguarding the short- and long-term family planning needs of more women, men, and adolescents in need of services. Key elements of the final rule include:

  • Requiring clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning. This separation will ensure adherence to statutory restrictions, and provide needed clarity for the public and for Title X clinics about permissible and impermissible activities for Title X projects.
  • Prohibiting referral for abortion as a method of family planning. The final rule does not bar nondirective counseling on abortion, but eliminates the requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral. It protects Title X healthcare providers so that they are not required to choose between participating in the program and violating their own consciences by providing abortion counseling and referral.
  • Improving program transparency by requiring more complete reporting by grantees about subrecipients and more clarity about informal partnerships with referral agencies, to ensure provision of quality family planning services and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Protecting women and children who have experienced child abuse, child molestation, incest, sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner violence, and trafficking by:
  • Requiring that Title X clinics provide annual training for staff and have a site-specific protocol in place to protect victims/survivors of sexual assault.
  • Requiring compliance with State and local laws on reporting or notification of these crimes.
  • Requiring counseling for minors on how to resist attempts to coerce them into sexual activities.

This rule will effectively ban all $260 million dollars in taxpayer-provided Title X money from ever reaching the abortion industry, and will instead redirect those funds to actual family planning clinics.

That’s a huge win for families and a painful hit to Planned Parenthood’s wallet. But the fight is far from over.

We are fighting in courtrooms across the country and at the Supreme Court to defend pro-life laws, end horrific abortion practices, and defund taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand once and for all.

We need your voice.


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


Jordan Sekulow is an attorney and host of Jay Sekulow Live! and Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice’s (ACLJ) weekly television broadcast. Mr. Sekulow has served as a liaison between the ACLJ and its international affiliates. In 2014, he was appointed a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University at Harris Manchester College and served as a member of the Summer Research Institute at Oxford from 2014-2016. Sekulow is a graduate of Regent University School of Law, where he served as co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy.