WASHINGTON — Beginning next year, states will not be allowed to defund Planned Parenthood, according to a new Health and Human Services mandate.
The new rule requires states to allocate $286 million in annual federal family-planning service funds based only on whether an organization provides those services. Pro-life state legislators have worked to cut Title X funding from groups like Planned Parenthood that also provide abortions.
The rule “will prevent future attempts to prohibit Title X funding to current and potential subrecipients for reasons other than their ability to meet the objectives of the Title X program,” Obama administration officials declared.
During the comment period, which closed in early October, opponents argued abortion centers could use Title X money to end the lives of unborn babies, or redirect private money toward abortion once they receive government funds to provide other family planning services.
Government officials claim it doesn’t matter what grant recipients do with private money.
“Title X funds cannot be used for abortions,” the department responded. “Additionally, beyond cost-sharing and program income requirements, federal grant programs do not generally have the authority to stipulate what recipients do with non-federal funds.”
Planned Parenthood, which receives about $60 million of its annual $528 million government funding from Title X, also performs one-third of the nation’s abortions.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said every county in her state has found alternatives to Planned Parenthood for its Title X funds. Black decried the HHS mandate on Wednesday, saying the Obama administration had become “unglued” at the prospect of a pro-life Donald Trump administration.
“We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this 11th hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long,” Black said. “Come next year, our pro-life majorities in Congress will be positioned to work with President-elect Trump and pro-life nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, to not only roll back this latest overreach but also to enact new legal protections for these most vulnerable members of our society. The Obama administration will not have the last word.”
The rule goes into effect on Jan. 18, two days before Trump’s inauguration.
— by Samantha Gobba