WASHINGTON — Nearly 200 Congressmen have signed on to letters asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to amend the federal Title X regulations so as to prohibit funding to organizations that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood has described abortion as ‘a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control…’ It is time for the Title X funding stream for Planned Parenthood to be turned off,” a letter to Secretary Alex Azar reads. “We urge you to move swiftly to issue regulations for the Title X program that will stop funding for programs where abortion is a method for family planning.”
While Title X already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion programs, the Congressmen are concerned about Clinton-era regulations that require fund recipients to refer for abortions and allow grantees to be “co-located” with those who perform abortions.
“Co-located centers may be vulnerable to misuse of funds in support of abortion activities, and send a message that abortion is considered a method of family planning in federally funded family planning programs,” one letter states. “To ensure that the federally funded family planning services offered by Title X grant recipients are unquestionably separate and distinct from abortion, Title X service sites should be physically, as well as financially, separate from facilities that provide abortion.”
“We ask that you restore the regulations issued on February 2, 1988, which clarified that Title X programs may not promote, counsel, or refer clients for abortion or co-locate or combine family planning services with abortion activities,” another requests. “These rules required not only complete financial separation, but also physical separation of abortion activities from Title X service sites and separate personnel.”
Signees include Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ; Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Dr. Larry Buschon, R-Ind.; Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., Dr. Neal Dunn, R-Fla.; Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Dr. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio; Claudia Tenney, R-NY; Diane Black, R-Tenn.; and Dr. Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; and Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Dr. Michael Burgess, R-Texas; John Thune, R-SD; Dr. Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Dr. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; John Barrasso, R-Wy.; and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.
Read the letter from the House here and the letter from the Senate here.
As previously reported, Planned Parenthood filed suit against HHS on Wednesday for altering its Title X funding criteria to prefer groups that promote abstinence and work with faith-based entities.
“[P]lacing a ‘meaningful emphasis’ on abstinence until marriage to an unmarried, healthy adult woman who wishes to be sexually active, and who comes to a health center for an IUD, would not only be a coercive and egregious clinical practice, but would disrespect the patient’s dignity as an individual … and could be understood as refusing service based on marital status,” the legal challenge asserted.
“The Trump-Pence administration is trying to … push people toward abstinence or pressure women into marriage—instead of helping them get quality health care,” also remarked Gillian Dean, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, in a statement. “Everyone deserves the right to control their own bodies and future, and to get the care they need.”
2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”