May 17, 2021
WASHINGTON—A coalition of more than twenty organizations—including leading think tanks, religious institutions, and public interest medical, legal, and advocacy groups—are submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) objecting to HHS’s proposed rule that would funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to abortion providers by undoing a Trump-era regulation that ensured separation between Title X funded programs and abortion activities. Today marks the end of the 30-day public comment period for the proposed rule.
Title X is the only federal program devoted solely to the provision of family planning and related preventive services, with priority given to low-income persons. In creating Title X, Congress explicitly prohibited funds from being used “in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Consistent with this law, HHS finalized a Title X regulation in 2019 that required organizations operating Title X funded programs to have strict physical and financial separation from any abortion activities. Rather than serving Title X clients consistent with the 2019 regulation, Planned Parenthood and some other abortion providers chose to prioritize abortion and consequently dropped out of the Title X program.
The proposed rule under the Biden administration would:
- Eliminate physical and financial separation requirements between Title X activities and abortion activities;
- Mandate abortion counseling and referrals in violation of federal conscience protections, such as the Weldon Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act;
- No longer encourage family and parental participation, despite statutory requirements; and,
- Weaken reporting and compliance requirements, including for subrecipients and provisions related to abuse of minors.
Today, the Ethics & Public Policy Center is hosting a press conference with former Trump HHS officials and with the Alliance Defending Freedom to discuss the comments submitted by coalition members in opposition to the rule.
“Most Americans reject the idea of abortion being used for birth control, which is why they don’t want to fund abortion providers through the Title X program,” said Roger Severino, Senior Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, where he directs the HHS Accountability Project. “President Biden wants to change the rules to bail out his friends in the abortion industry who care more about abortion than actual family planning,” Severino added. “People are pushing back against an extreme President and HHS Secretary who want to not only force people to refer for abortion but have taxpayers fund such taking of life,” concluded Severino.
Organizations that are submitting public comments in opposition to the proposed rule (comments linked where available) include:
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- American Family Association
- Americans United for Life
- Christian Employers Alliance
- Christian Medical Association
- Concerned Women for America
- Ethics & Public Policy Center
- Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
- Heritage Action for America
- Heritage Foundation
- March for Life
- Medical Institute
- National Association of Catholic Nurses
- National Catholic Bioethics Center
- National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
- Religious Freedom Institute
- Students for Life
- Susan B. Anthony List
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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