February 07, 2017
In his last Christmas as president, Barack Obama made sure he played Santa for at least one group: Planned Parenthood. With just weeks to go in the White House, the abortion industry's best friend did what it could to protect the industry from an administration sure to be bad for business. Using his power at Health and Human Services, President Obama issued a rule that not only locked down federal grants for Cecile Richards's group through the Title X "family planning" program, but also blocked states from defunding Planned Parenthood. It was, as two women in Congress said, the ultimate parting gift to an organization so corrupt that it's been referred for criminal prosecution by the U.S. House.
Returning that gift to sender is the goal of Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who've both introduced repeals of the eleventh-hour rule. "State legislatures around the country have spoken out about their preference for prioritizing more comprehensive primary and preventative care providers for the receipt of Title X funding," the duo wrote in a joint op-ed for the Washington Examiner, "and their voice should be respected by bureaucrats in the federal government." Obviously, the point of the rule was to strong-arm states into giving their hard-earned money to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood. That's not only a violation of states' rights but of taxpayers' trust. "According to its 2014-2015 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortion procedures in just one year. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the abortion industry in this country. Nor should they be forced to foot the bill for an organization like Planned Parenthood that has displayed such blatant disregard for human life."
They didn't mention the fact that Planned Parenthood's political arm spent more than $38 million in November's election. In my view, an organization that directly receives taxpayer funding should not be able to spend money to influence the outcome of elections.
As for Obama's parting gift to Planned Parenthood, every state should be free to decide how it spends its dollars -- especially if they're choosing positive alternatives to Cecile Richards's "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. "With a pro-life president in the White House and pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, we will continue to work together this year to undo the damage done by the Obama administration," the women write. Help us keep President Trump busy by encouraging your members of Congress to send a bill to his desk zeroing out Planned Parenthood from Title X funding!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.