OLIVIA SUMMERS, ACLJ
According to a draft of President Biden’s agenda currently circulating on Capitol Hill, his Administration is set to address “health care” on Thursday, January 28th. The agenda promises to rescind the Mexico City Policy and “review” Title X’s “domestic gag rule.”
Now, as we have informed you many times before, the express language of Title X states: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” There is nothing unclear or vague about that language, yet for years it was interpreted by pro-abortion Administrations as merely prohibiting grants from directly funding abortion; and abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, simply had to show some kind of financial separation between its abortion services and its “other services” in order to get around that prohibition.
Under President Trump’s Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put a stop to this interpretation by proposing, and then adopting, a Reagan era rule which, among other things:
- Requires clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning;
- Prohibits referral for abortion as a method of family planning; and
- 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.
Naturally, Planned Parenthood – deprived of any access to any of the $260 million dollars available through taxpayer-provided Title X money – referred to this rule as a “gag rule.” Planned Parenthood lamented that it could not avail itself of the money because it could not “comply with the unethical and harmful rule that is inconsistent with our mission and values.”
Let me interpret that for you: Planned Parenthood’s mission = killing unborn babies; Planned Parenthood’s values = money.
Even losing $60 million a year in Title X funding that it typically got wasn’t worth it for Planned Parenthood to provide actual healthcare to women because the reality is – abortion is Planned Parenthood’s big-ticket item, the main source of its income.
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to overturn the rule, and lost – multiple times – and the rule was allowed to stand.
The ACLJ submitted formal public comments in support of the Trump Administration’s pro-life regulation; and in fact, members of the ACLJ also submitted their own individual comments accounting for more than 10% of all comments received by HHS. We also filed numerous amicus briefs as the cases challenging the rule worked their way through the courts. One of them is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, where Planned Parenthood has asked the high Court to take up their case and overturn the lower court’s order protecting the rule.
Now, with what is proving to be a radically left-wing Administration in place just over a week, Planned Parenthood is already taking advantage of and pushing for the Biden Administration to undo the Trump Administration’s work to protect life. It is expected that the Biden Administration’s “review” is a euphemistic first step toward demolishing this pro-life rule and reestablishing Planned Parenthood’s $60 million taxpayer-funded stream.
The ACLJ stands ready to fight any changes the Biden Administration proposes to the Title X rule, including filing formal public comments and other appropriate legal action, and we will keep you informed and up to date on our engagement so that you can fight with us.
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.