States cannot keep federal grants away from Planned Parenthood clinics, the Obama administration ruled on Wednesday in a move that critics say is a “parting gift to Big Abortion.”
“The Obama administration, even in its waning hours, has chosen to
put Planned Parenthood’s Big Abortion agenda ahead of women’s health and
the right of states to decide how best to prioritize public health
funding so that patients and the most comprehensive health providers
come first,” Steven H. Aden, senior counsel at Alliance Defending
The Department of Health and Human Services released final
regulations “to increase access to affordable family planning and
preventive services” under Title X grants Dec. 14. The new rule takes
effect Jan. 18, two days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Title X is a federal program that promotes “family planning” through
grants to various providers of health care through the states.
In its new rule, the HHS says that states can’t withhold these grants
to certain health providers if they provide the “family planning”
services that Title X is based on: “no grant recipient making subawards
for the provision of services as part of its Title X project may
prohibit an entity from participating for reasons other than its ability
to provide Title X services.”
Thus, if states felt that community health centers – which do not
provide abortions but offer other health care options like breast cancer
screenings – should receive grants over Planned Parenthood affiliates –
which provide abortions but not breast cancer screenings or health care
that is not preventative – they could not favor the health centers if
both recipients met the criteria for the Title X grants.
“In the past several years, a number of states have taken actions to
restrict participation by certain types of providers as subrecipients in
the Title X Program, unrelated to the provider’s ability to provide
family planning services,” the HHS stated.
“This has caused limitations in the geographic distribution of
services and decreased access to services,” they added, noting that the
final rule was meant to “protect access to family planning services.”
States such as New Hampshire and Kansas have tried to limit Planned
Parenthood affiliates’ funding under the program, the HHS has claimed,
but now they can only do so if they “can prove that they disperse birth
control better than Planned Parenthood does.”
“Planned Parenthood isn’t superior to true, publicly-funded health
care centers -- which are far more numerous – simply because it claims
to focus on dispensing birth control, despite being America’s largest
abortion business,” Aden said.
Back in October, ADF, along with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List
and its research arm the Charlotte Lozier Institute, wrote to the HHS
asking them “to reject the proposed rule, as it contradicts the letter
and spirit of Title X not to subsidize elective abortion.”
Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider.
ADF continued, saying the rule blatantly favors Planned Parenthood
over public health centers, trampling on the states' legitimate
authority to disburse the federal grants to organizations that best
align with their declared health policy.
“By defining ‘quality of care’ in a way that strongly favors
providers who focus on contraceptive services, HHS asserts that
‘reproductive healthcare providers’ such as Planned Parenthood are
superior to the federal government’s own system of public healthcare
because they more effectively deliver contraception – a proposition both
remarkable and untrue,” the comments stated.
Plus, it is “simply better healthcare policy” to leave federal health
funding to centers like community health centers that provide an array
of healthcare options and not just contraceptives, ADF added:
“Unlike boutique ‘reproductive healthcare providers’ such as Planned
Parenthood affiliates, such primary and preventive care centers provide
low-income families with access to not only family planning services,
but also vital preventive services, including prenatal and perinatal
services, well-child services, immunizations against vaccine-preventable
diseases, primary care services, diagnostic laboratory and radiological
services, emergency medical services, and pharmaceutical services.”