One of the most common questions I get from grassroots advocates, supporters or even other D.C. folk is, “What are we doing now about Planned Parenthood?” Although we have proven we can get Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursement funding redirected to better healthcare providers through a House vote, the Senate makeup is not changing right now, so we are tackling this from a different angle.
According to their most recent annual report, in 2016 Planned Parenthood received approximately $543.7 million from the government. This is a big pot of money that is divided in a lot of ways. The main ways Planned Parenthood receives funding is through Medicaid reimbursement for services performed and through Title X (family planning) dollars and through other various government (state and federal) grants. The healthcare reconciliation bill that failed by one vote in the Senate last year tackled the largest portion: their Medicaid reimbursement, but we are not giving up because that bill failed.
The Title X Family Planning Program was authorized in 1970 and is intended to assist in “voluntary family planning projects,” offering “a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services,” and may not fund “programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The statute gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the ability to determine qualifications for this money. These qualifications are mostly outdated and although the statute firmly differentiates between abortion and family planning, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is a large recipient of these funds. Obama regulations required all grantees to refer for abortion. This obviously deters many from applying for funds who do not believe abortion is a method of family planning.
Members of the House know this issue well and are currently circulating a letter to the Secretary of HHS to update these regulations. HHS recently issued new Title X regulations lifting the abortion referral mandate, but members of Congress are now asking for these funds to be fully separated from abortion clinics. As it stands, several Title X locations are also abortion clinics, but members are calling to renew similar Reagan Administration regulations (that the Supreme Court upheld) that require Title X service sites to be physically and financially separate from abortion facilities.
This is just one of the ways you won’t hear about on the news that we are working to cut off the government funding stream to Planned Parenthood. Their free ride on the backs of taxpayers is not forgotten in D.C. and is coming to an end.