Bill allows states to revoke Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding
President Trump signed H.J. Res 43 on April 13, allowing states to withhold Title X grant money from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The resolution was proposed by Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN) on January 30 and easily passed the House by a vote of 230-188. The legislation then headed to the Senate where it was introduced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). H.J. 43 has a much more difficult time passing the Senate, and Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote to send it to the President’s desk.
The policy was in response to the Obama administration’s December decision to bar states from withholding federal Title X grant money from certain health care facilities. The original rule, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, prohibited states from keeping funds from health care facilities unless they could demonstrate that they did not have the “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” This was commonly seen as a move to protect Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, after a number of states attempted to defund the organization following the release of a series of controversial undercover videos. Along with many other shocking situations, these videos showed top-level Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of the body parts of aborted children.
Enacted in 1970, Title X is a federal grant program created to provide family planning and preventative health care services to low-income and uninsured Americans. In 2014, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, Planned Parenthood received 60 million dollars in Title X funding. While still significant, the 60 million dollars accounted for only a portion of Planned Parenthood’s 553 million dollars in taxpayer funding in the same year, with the majority of their funding coming in the form of Medicaid reimbursements.
The legislation was able to move through the Senate with a simply majority of votes because of the Congressional Review Act. The law, passed in 1996, allows congress to overturn regulations created in the final six months of the previous president’s administration with a simple majority. Unlike other legislation, resolutions under the Congressional Review Act cannot be filibustered.
Pro-life organizations lauded the passage of H.J. Res 43, encouraged by what is seen as a sign of President Trump’s commitment to fulfilling promises he made during the election. A press release from the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life political organization, thanked President Trump, Vice President Pence, Congresswoman Black, and Senator Ernst for their roles in getting the legislation passed. The statement read: “The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars. Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive health care clinics that better serve women and girls.”
The statement continued, “We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life health care reform after the spring recess.”
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, also released a statement regarding the legislation, saying, “Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care.”
On the other hand, the executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dawn Laguens, decried the policy, saying, “People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example. We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backward.”
On campus, two students expressed their support of the policy to the Rover. Sophomore Andie Tong said, “I think it’s a move in the right direction toward becoming a country that protects its most vulnerable members: the unborn. However, I think that this means we have to further push support for organizations that provide for women’s health in such a way that keeps in mind both the dignity of women and their children.”
Another sophomore, Grace Enright, shared her sentiments as well, saying, “I think women, particularly minority and low-income women, deserve better health care services than what Planned Parenthood offers. I see President Trump’s action as an opportunity for the states to assess the health care needs of their citizens and to ensure that no woman has to settle for less when it comes to her reproductive, or overall, health.”
Matt Connell is a sophomore studying marketing and constitutional studies. He is known for abbreviating words that don’t already have abbreves, and eating chicken quesaritos from TacoHut on a regular basis. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.