President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed Rule RIN 937-AA04 on Wednesday morning, in an attempt to further weaken safeguards preventing taxpayer funding of abortion. Focusing on the exclusion of Planned Parenthood from these grants, this move by the Obama administration could be seen as trying to set a precedent for the eventual repealing of the Hyde Amendment.
Under Title X, state governments can apply for federal funds for healthcare, which they turn around and distribute to health care providers directly. These funds are for family planning and related preventive services, including preconception, prenatal, and other family planning care. By federal statute, they are not allowed to be used by “programs where abortion is a method of family planning…except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered.”
The Obama administration seems to forget that Planned Parenthood is an organization where abortion is offered as a method of family planning.
HHS has introduced the new rule to prevent states from restricting access to Title X funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood, except in cases “related to their ability to provide required services in an effective manner.” For charity’s sake, let’s assume that HHS fully intends to provide these funds to Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood has promised not to use them for abortions. Fine. This means that Planned Parenthood in Kansas (one of the states targeted in the proposed rule) will take, let’s say, $500,000 in Title X funds and use it for approved activities. That leaves $500,000 they would have otherwise not had available out of the rest of their budget open to use for abortions.
Basically, by remaining dedicated to standing by Planned Parenthood at every turn, the Obama administration wants to use Title X to, at the very least, indirectly subsidize abortions.
So what can concerned citizens do about it?
Comment. The Federal government allows for citizens to offer commentary on proposed rules. Directions for commenting on this rule are as follows: go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, and enter docket ID number 937-AA04 in the “Enter Keyword or ID” field and click “Search.” Click “Submit a Comment,” and the system will prompt you from there.
Comments can also be mailed to:
Susan B. Moskossky, MS, WNHP-BC
Office of Population Affairs
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20201
It’s time to crush this rule with the power of public opinion.
Kevin Dawson is the Operations Manager at American Principles Project.