JORDAN SEKULOW, ACLJ
As we expected, the Biden Administration just announced it will be reversing the Title X Rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that blocked millions in taxpayer funding from abortionists, including abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
On January 28, 2021, President Biden issued his Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad which ordered the review – and for those reading between the lines, the likely reversal – of the HHS Title X Final Rule. As directed in the memo:
The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall review the Title X Rule and any other regulations governing the Title X program that impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information and shall consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act.
As we told you, the ACLJ filed public comments supporting this pro-life rule; and at our urging, our members filed their own individual comments in astounding numbers, accounting for more than 10% of all comments received.
During his presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden promised he would reverse the HHS rule blocking Title X money from Planned Parenthood. As President, he’s making good, if you can call it that, on his word.
Now it appears the Biden HHS will indeed undo the life-saving rule and allow Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry access to those Title X funds once again. HHS has announced:
After reviewing the 2019 rule, HHS plans to propose revised regulations substantively similar to those issued in 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 41270), under which the program operated successfully for years, with a few definitional updates that account for minor operational changes over the past 20 years. HHS is working on promulgating a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and it expects to have this NPRM published in the Federal Register no later than April 15, 2021. HHS will review and carefully consider all comments submitted in response to this NPRM and plans to have any Title X Final Rule in place by early fall and effective in time for the Fiscal Year 2022 funding announcement, which is expected to be issued in December 2021.
Breaking this down, we learn five things. First, just days after being confirmed, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra is well on his way to being – as we warned – the most pro-abortion HHS Secretary ever. Second, HHS is officially going to reverse the defunding of upwards of $60 million in taxpayer funding, sending it back to Planned Parenthood. Third, this is going to begin right around the day traditionally known as Tax Day in America (though that date has been pushed back a month this year for many filings due to the pandemic) – a fitting reminder of what is at stake. Fourth, the Biden Administration plans to have all this funding available to Planned Parenthood by the end of the year, so the abortion giant doesn’t miss a single cent – of our money, which it doesn’t deserve.
Fifth, and maybe the most telling, is the line in President Biden’s directive regarding “undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information.”
Remember that the current HHS rule blocks funding to organizations and businesses that not only perform abortions, but even recommend it as a form of family planning. This is why Planned Parenthood quickly, and disingenuously, deemed it a “gag rule” to garner support.
It’s not, nor was it ever, a gag rule. Planned Parenthood and other abortionists are free to say anything they want – but they shouldn’t be able to force the American people to pay for it – especially not when they’re recommending killing innocent unborn babies.
More importantly, the expressed verbiage of Title X clearly states that: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
As we reported, the U.S. Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association that could reverse the commonsense HHS rule. Such a move would return $60 million in taxpayer funding back to Planned Parenthood. But it might not even matter, as President Biden has urged the Supreme Court to throw out the case altogether. As if to say, “Don’t bother, I’ll take it from here.”
The Biden Administration, as it has done in other cases, such as the public charge rules related to immigration, filed “a stipulated dismissal of the two Title X appeals. But unlike the public charge case, where the [Supreme Court] immediately dismissed the case, the Title X case has yet to be dismissed — and that is likely thanks to Ohio and her sister states seeking to intervene as parties.”
We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will allow these states, and/or the various pro-life medical groups that have petitioned the Court, to intervene in the case. This would ensure that the current regulation – the law – would actually be given a fair defense. The Biden Administration shouldn’t be allowed to unilaterally change the law by settling or dismissing cases. But that’s what it wants to do.
The Biden Administration may go down as one of the most pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood Administrations in American history. We told you President Biden has already taken steps to once again make working Americans pay for international abortions.
In its last reported year alone, Planned Parenthood unabashedly proclaimed that it had raked in a staggering $618 MILLION in government support – your tax dollars – breaking its own vile record. That while topping another personal best – or worst – committing almost 355,000 abortions. It’s sickening.
And you can add to all that the shockingly unjust jury verdict where Planned Parenthood was awarded millions of dollars in damages and the judge awarded the abortion giant over $13 million more in attorney’s fees, even after Planned Parenthood was caught in the illegal sale of aborted babies’ body parts. As we told you, we’ve already appealed this case in federal appeals court to overturn this flawed verdict.
Never mind the fact that, somehow, at least 37 of Planned Parenthood’s 49 affiliates obtained a total of approximately $80 million from Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) taxpayer funds that were meant to go to small businesses. We submitted our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to determine whether Planned Parenthood fraudulently obtained these funds through the SBA – funds that it had no lawful right to obtain – and how this contravention of Congress’ limitations occurred.
The ACLJ legal team is already preparing to file a critical amicus brief at the Supreme Court in support of the current HHS Title X Rule – and the plain language of the statute – and to argue for keeping that money out of the reach of the abortion industry, as it was always intended. We are also preparing to once again submit a formal public comment to HHS urging that the current rule not be changed. As we have previously argued, to allow Planned Parenthood access to those monies is a blatant overreach, in defiance of the program’s expressed rules.
We will not stand by as the Biden Administration eviscerates pro-life laws and protections and forces Americans to pay for abortions, here at home and overseas. With such a pro-abortion Administration in place, the critical pro-life work of the ACLJ is needed more than ever.
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.