In lieu of a legislative effort to stop using our federal tax dollars to fund abortion on demand, the White House, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), posted the “Protect Life” rule today. It effectively eliminates Planned Parenthood’s ability to receive Title X money unless it stops including abortion as part of family planning.
They will not do make the appropriate change, Planned Parenthood’s new leader Leana Wen insinuated in an interview last month, and will likely lose $60 million a year in federal funding as a result.
According to HHS, the rule requires “clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning. This separation will ensure adherence to statutory restrictions, and provide needed clarity for the public and for Title X clinics about permissible and impermissible activities for Title X projects.”
The new rule specifically prohibits “referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” but does not bar “nondirective counseling on abortion.” It also eliminates a “requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral.”
It’s not the defunding of Planned Parenthood we need, but it’s a start. The problem with rules changes is that they stand to be changed back at the whim of the next President. Unfortunately, Congress didn’t act when the Republicans had the majority in both the House and Senate, so this is the the first and possibly last step towards defunding Planned Parenthood that we’ll see in a while.
As I’ve noted in the past, defunding Planned Parenthood will not reduce abortions. That’s not the point. They will raise more funds after being defunded than they would have received from the government had they not been defunded. But how our tax dollars are spent and the way Planned Parenthood distributes their funds are both important issues. The real path to curtailing abortions is through winning the cultural battles as well as legislative wins in the states. Nevertheless, this is a strong move to help put our tax dollars where they actually belong.
Leftists are trying to appeal to Constitutionalists that this is executive overreach, but that’s ridiculous. This is exactly what HHS is supposed to do – make rules. This isn’t legislating from the White House. It’s doing what’s right with the power they have.