The Obama administration has recently announced a new rule that would protect Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from losing their funding for political reasons.
The rule was proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services last week. It says that states will no longer be able to withhold Title X funds from recipients for any reason other than inability to “deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” In short, states would no longer be able to defund Planned Parenthood or other clinics simply because they happen to provide abortions in addition to other medical procedures.
The Title X program provides preventive healthcare and family planning services for more than four million people. The vast majority of those people have an annual income of less than $23,000. Planned Parenthood serves about one-third of those people and receives $70 million a year in funding from the Title X program. However, none of that money goes toward abortion because Title X funds cannot be used to fund abortions. In fact, only about 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are related to abortions.
Members of pro-choice organizations and women’s healthcare advocates have praised the recent rule. Cecile Richards, who serves as the president of Planned Parenthood, said it would make a major difference in women’s lives.
‘This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives.Thanks to the Obama administration, women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy’
Congressional Republicans have opposed the President’s new rule. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) described it as a stunt and called on pro-life activists to rally against it.
‘This latest stunt from President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services should surprise absolutely no one…
‘After all, this Administration has previously used backdoor maneuvers to line Planned Parenthood’s pockets with Obamacare navigator grants and praised the abortion provider’s “high ethical standard” even after it was caught trafficking in baby body parts…
‘We must use the full force of Congress and the grassroots strength of the national pro-life movement to defeat this absurd rule and prevent the Obama Administration from acting unilaterally to carry out political favors and prop up a scandal-ridden abortion provider.’
It should be noted that Black’s line about Planned Parenthood “trafficking in baby body parts” was based of a series of videos that have been thoroughly debunked. There is no evidence to support her claim that Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts.
The other argument often used by congressional Republicans is that funding Planned Parenthood simply costs too much. It is true that the organization receives a lot of money from the government, about $500 million, but cutting that funding wouldn’t necessarily save the government any money. The Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed S.1881, which would strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, and came back with mixed results. They cautioned that cutting funding could lead to higher birthrates and thus an increase in Medicaid spending.
‘CBO also expects that some of the services that would not be used if S. 1881 was enacted would include those that help women avert pregnancies and deliveries. Reduced use of such services would be expected to lead to additional births, increasing federal spending, primarily for Medicaid. In addition, some of those children would themselves qualify for Medicaid and possibly for other federal programs’
It isn’t just congressional Republican who are opposed to funding Planned Parenthood. There are currently 11 states have laws designed to prevent funds from going to the organization, which is probably what prompted the Obama administration to push the new rule.
The new rule has a 30-day public comment period before it becomes permanent, but it should be noted that it only applies to funds received through the Title X program. About 75 percent of Planned Parenthood’s money actually comes through Medicaid, which is not part of Title X.
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