Published October 27, 2021
A coalition of a dozen state attorneys general have sued the Biden administration over a new policy slated to take effect next month, which will allow abortion providers to obtain federal funding under the Title X family-planning program.
During the Trump administration, officials enacted the Protect Life rule, which required abortion providers to financially distinguish between their provision of abortion and other procedures in order to claim Title X funding. The aim of the policy was to protect pro-life Americans from indirectly underwriting elective abortion through their tax dollars.
Shortly after taking office, Biden announced that his Health and Human Services Department would begin working to undo the Protect Life rule, and that reversal is scheduled to take effect in early November. The move has drawn a lawsuit from twelve states, led by Ohio, arguing that funding abortion providers through Title X is a violation of federal law.
“You can’t ‘follow the money’ when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together,” Ohio attorney general Dave Yost said. “Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion — and that law means nothing if the federal money isn’t kept separate.”
Joining Ohio in challenging the new policy are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. The suit, filed in the southern district of Ohio, alleges that allowing abortion providers to obtain Title X funding violates a prohibition on public funding of abortion in the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970.
Under the Trump-administration policy, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, declined to make the required financial separation and forfeited about $60 million that it typically receives each year from Title X. Most of the group’s federal funding, which amounts to about half a billion dollars annually, comes in the form of Medicaid reimbursements.
Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.