WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence, the U.S. Senate voted to overrule former President Obama’s HHS regulations blocking states from defunding Planned Parenthood of federal Title X family planning funds and to prevent any future administration from re-issuing this rule. This Obama-era regulation effectively created a backdoor handout for the abortion industry. With the Senate’s passage of Rep. Diane Black’s (R-Tenn.) House-passed H.J. Res. 43, this legislation now heads to President’s Trump desk for signature into law.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released the following comments:
“I applaud the Congress and President Trump for working together to restore a culture of life in America. Every state should be free to decide how it spends its dollars -- especially if they're choosing positive alternatives to the ‘abortion-as-health-care’ model. Obama's HHS rule on Title X is an executive overreach and a handout to the abortion industry that has no basis in law.
“Planned Parenthood's political arm spent more than $38 million in this past November's election. An organization that directly receives taxpayer funding should not be able to spend money to influence the outcome of elections. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood and its allies have been repeatedly exposed in their horrifying trafficking of aborted babies' tissues and organs. As a nation, we are without excuse in subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s gruesome trafficking of baby body parts and its inhumane treatment of mothers and their unborn children.
“I am grateful to Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. Diane Black for their leadership on passing the first pro-life legislation in this new Congress. We now call on Congress to take the next step to end the forced partnership between taxpayers and a group that exalts cash over care,” concluded Perkins.
Title X is a federal grant program that provides funds for family planning services. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 legislative days to overturn agency rules like this one, and it requires only 51 votes in the Senate. Many states have passed laws to exclude such funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. While often Title X grants go to private entities, many states are the main grant recipient of these funds. Those states realize that money is fungible. When Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics receive Title X family planning funding, it frees resources for them to spend more on abortion. The Title X law itself prevents funds from being used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning, but nowhere does the law say that grant recipients must include abortion providers.