Back in 1970, the Nixon administration enacted the Title X Family Funding Program. As described on the HHS website, “For more than 40 years, Title X family planning clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals.”
For years, abortion providers were unable to access these funds, until President Clinton decided otherwise. Since then, abortion mills like Planned Parenthood have happily tapped into these funds to make sure that, utilizing some creative bookkeeping, women from low-income households have access to abortion and abortion counseling.
But no more. In June of last year, the Trump Administration announced the Protect Life Rule, which prohibits fund recipients from providing abortion counseling or being “co-located” with an abortion clinic.
Planned Parenthood and a number of states immediately sued to block the Protect Life Rule from taking effect.
Last week, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stop the Rule, the Administration announced that the Rule will take effect immediately.
Naturally, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen called the decision “devastating news,” and promised to continue legal action. (Wen has since been removed as president.)
Here’s why she said this. According to the Catholic News Agency, “The Protect Life Rule will strip about $60 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood, whose clinics both refer for abortion services and are often co-located within abortion facilities. Planned Parenthood presently receives about one-fifth of the total amount of Title X funds distributed and serves about 40 percent of all clients who benefit from Title X.”
Planned Parenthood quickly announced plans to create an emergency fund (meaning they’ll shake down their donors) to replace the lost dollars, and we’re already starting to hear about the tragedy of lost “health care” funds for low-income women. The head of California’s largest recipient of Title X funds provided a typical response, “We will continue to pursue relief through the courts to protect access to essential health services for the millions of low-income patients served by Title X nationwide.”
Don’t buy the frantic wording. Not a single penny has been reduced from Title X funding. Title X money is still available to, and I quote, “assist in the establishment and operation of voluntary family planning projects which provide … natural family planning methods, infertility services, and services for adolescents; highly effective contraceptive methods; breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention services that correspond with nationally recognized standards of care; STD and HIV prevention education, counseling, testing, and referrals . . . and other preventive health services.”
That sounds like a pretty robust list of services available to low-income women. The money simply can’t be used to further abortion.
And it’s unclear why this should bother Planned Parenthood anyway, given its claim that abortion is just 3 percent of the services it provides to women. All this gnashing of teeth reveals how ludicrous that claim has always been.
Now, as Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But here’s mine: The Protect Life Rule will probably remain in effect during the remainder of the Trump Administration, but should a Democratic contender take residence in the White House, it will be dead on day 1 of their administration.
This brings me to three points. First, elections matter. Second, while I am grateful for the Trump Administration’s commitment to life, shame on the Republican majority in Congress that has consistently failed to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Governance by administrative rule will not protect the lives of the unborn in the long run.
And third, the fight remains: Not only to make abortion illegal, but also unthinkable.