On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule governing the Title X family planning program. The Title X program was created to help individuals, particularly low-income individuals, access quality family planning services. This final rule requires physical and financial separation between abortion operations and family planning operations as well as prohibits referral for abortion, which is the best interpretation of the Title X statute.
This final rule from HHS is in response to the hundreds of thousands of comments from Americans who do not want their tax dollars funding the abortion industry. I applaud President Trump and HHS for this integrity and patient-focused rule. Furthermore, because Title X grant recipients are no longer forced to refer for abortion, entities who previously objected to this provision can now apply for these funds.
The Title X statute explicitly states that programs that promote abortion as a method of family planning do not qualify for funding. However, since it is government money in the realm of family planning, the abortion industry, particularly Planned Parenthood, has hijacked this program and has, for decades, used the fungibility of these taxpayer funds as their own personal slush fund. There is no gag rule: doctors are free to discuss options for pregnant women in a non-directive manner. Health care providers are neither prohibited or mandated to discuss abortion.
Planned Parenthood now faces a choice: adhere to the statutory prohibitions and comply with the final rule or give up Title X funding. We don’t need to wait for their predictable and apocalyptic press release to know what they’ll choose: abortion. Planned Parenthood claims that abortion is only 3% of what they do, but their own annual report reveals that abortions make up 96% of their pregnancy resolutions. Abortion is not a small part of what they do; it’s who they are. This final rule integrates desperately needed integrity to a well-intended, but widely-abused program. It is a crucial step to disentangle taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry.