The U.S. House voted 228 to 188 Thursday to overturn President Obama’s mandate forcing states to fund abortion giant Planned Parenthood. H.J. Res. 43, sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, passed with bipartisan support, and would reverse Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry.
When it was passed in the waning days of his presidency, media reports proclaimed that Obama had made a permanent law preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood. Black’s measure, however, allows states to use family planning funds under Title X in ways that do not support groups committing abortion — like Planned Parenthood.
Speaker Paul Ryan notes that Black’s resolution may change that seemingly permanent rule due to the Congressional Review Act:
The Health and Human Services rule bans states from withholding Title X funds from organizations that perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood. Many states have distributed these funds, not to Planned Parenthood, but to effective community health centers that do not perform abortions. Ultimately, states know the needs of their communities better than bureaucrats in Washington. But this regulation strips states of their longstanding ability to decide how federal funds should be used in their state. This repeal would restore the proper balance of powers.
Black testified on February 14, 2017, before the House Rules Committee about her resolution, and she had strong words about the Obama edict:
As members of this committee may know, Title X has existed as a federal family planning grant program since 1970, and states have always had the freedom and flexibility to dole out those grants to the providers of their choice.
In my home state of Tennessee, for example, our Title X funding goes exclusively to the Tennessee Department of Health which then determines appropriate sub-grantees. These are made up primarily of county health departments.
We’ve been able to effectively use our share of Title X funding to provide women and families with the care they need, all while asserting our state’s right to steer these taxpayer dollars away from abortion providers in Tennessee.
Now, under this eleventh hour Obama Administration rule – finalized after President Trump was elected and made enforceable just two days before he took office – Tennessee has lost that right.
Commenting on the lack of freedom Tennessee and other states have been given, despite their tenth amendment rights, Black notes that Washington, D.C., has usurped states’ rights. Those rights should be returned to them to make health care decisions for their own constituents, she says.
Further, Black explains, the hastily-enacted rule is founded on falsity:
It’s also worth noting that the Obama Administration’s rule is simply not grounded in fact. This edict was replete with statements that the Administration cannot back up.
For example, the rule stated that health care providers with a focus on reproductive health – for example Planned Parenthood – can “accomplish Title X programmatic objectives more effectively.” This is demonstrably false.
According to Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive services dropped by 18% over the last year. And their total number of services provided dropped by 11% even as their taxpayer funding increased by millions and their abortions continued at over 320,000 a year.
What’s more, the research that the Obama Administration cited in this rule is far from unbiased.
Consider this: The finalized HHS rule cites “research” from the Guttmacher Institute nearly half a dozen times throughout its pages. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Guttmacher was formerly an entity housed within Planned Parenthood Federation of America and is even named after a former Planned Parenthood President.
Members of the committee, if an Administration is going to impose sweeping new rules limiting states’ rights, the least they could do is provide proper supporting documentation.
Black assures the members that despite criticism, passing her resolution does not, in fact, defund Planned Parenthood; it simply returns the rights to the states. They could no longer be forced to fund a group committing abortion in order to fulfill the Title X funding requirements.
Passing her resolution will allow money to be reallocated to “more comprehensive providers – for example, community health centers, which outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by a margin of 20 to 1,” Black said. It might, in fact, provide more access to low-income women, as the Texas Healthy Woman Program proves to do. (Live Action News reported details on the program this week.)
Now it’s up to the Senate to protect taxpayers from funding abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.