The Democratic coronavirus relief package could send up to $50 million to abortion providers through Title X “family planning” funds.
The $1.9 trillion bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives early Saturday morning, would appropriate $50 million to the Department Health and Human Services.
Under recent changes from the Biden administration, HHS could send that money to abortion clinics, a policy expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“This is a huge red flag in this bill,” Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, told the DCNF. “It will go to Planned Parenthood clinics.”
Former President Donald Trump in July 2019 stripped Title X funding from family planning clinics that refer women for abortions.
The president’s rules required organizations that perform abortions and make abortion referrals to do so in separate buildings from those that receive Title X federal funds.
President Joe Biden’s administration quickly took steps to reverse the policy.
In a Jan. 28 executive order, the new president ordered HHS to review of Title X family planning regulations.
Bovard suspects that HHS will hold the funds until Trump’s executive order on Title X has been reversed.
“HHS grants take a number of months to process,” she told the DCNF, “so by the time the money is ready to be obligated to grantees, the restrictions will be gone.”
HHS alerted clinics in June 2019 that it would enforce the Trump administration’s ban, and Planned Parenthood withdrew from the Title X federal family planning program in August 2019 rather than comply with this decision, thereby forgoing about $60 million a year.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley slammed the relief package in a Tuesday statement to the DCNF.
“It’s clear that President Biden is using this bill as a Trojan Horse to push a radical progressive agenda,” he said.
“I challenge any Democrat to tell me with a straight face what unlocking federal funds for abortion providers has to do with beating the pandemic.”
Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson praised the coronavirus bill in a Feb. 27 statement, noting that it includes “critical funding for the Title X family planning program.”
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