Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined a pro-life consortium of 20 Republican state attorneys general who are demanding that the Biden administration stop trying to sneakily expand taxpayer-funded abortions.
In a May 17 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the AGs argued that a rule change proposed by President Joe Biden‘s Department of Health and Human Services would give abortion providers access to millions in taxpayer money to “subsidize abortions, in violation of Title X.”
The Title X Family Planning Program, which was passed in 1970, gives federal grants to clinics that offer “family-planning services” — including contraceptives — on the express condition that abortions are not “promoted in any way.”
In recent years, Title X has given $286 million in annual grants to clinics, including affiliates of abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
In March 2019, then-President Donald Trump implemented a rule change blocking recipients of Title X grants from providing abortions or referring patients for abortions (except in cases of rape, incest or a medical emergency).
That caused 410 Planned Parenthood clinics to voluntarily leave the grant program because they didn’t want to comply with the new rule.
However, the abortion cartel still gets hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year.
“In its annual report for the 2018-19 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood said its affiliates received more than $616 million in taxpayer dollars — a 9% increase from the $563.8 million total the year before, and a 13% increase from two years before,” the Catholic News Agency said in October 2020.
Biden’s proposed rule change would reverse the Trump-era rule by allowing Planned Parenthood affiliates to once again have access to Title X grants.
In their letter, the 21 Republican attorneys general warned that the proposal violates Title X by facilitating the taxpayer funding of abortions.
“Title X reflects a compromise. It funds services that large numbers of Americans support while withholding that funding from services that large numbers oppose,” they told Becerra.
“The Proposed Rule tramples that compromise, by intertwining family-planning services with the divisive issue of publicly funded abortions. The Proposed Rule is not based on the public health, but grantee preference to have freer rein of taxpayer dollars.”
Specifically, the AGs said that any clinic that makes abortion referrals or shares office space with an abortion provider violates Title X.
“First, and contrary to the Proposed Rule, Title X funds must not be used at facilities that make abortion referrals,” the attorneys general noted. “Second, and also contrary to the Proposed Rule, Title X funds cannot be used to support a family-planning program that is located in an abortion-providing facility.”
The letter rebuked Biden’s Health and Human Services Department for stealthily trying to subvert an express mandate of Title X.
“The Department cannot deviate from the best reading of the text when it does so to circumvent the statutory provision,” the attorneys general said.
“And its reasons for deviating from the best reading could not be clearer: the Department, knowing that it cannot expressly subsidize abortion, plans to do so indirectly by putting Title X services and abortion services in the same place.”
Keep in mind that Becerra is an avid proponent of abortions, including the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure — which even many pro-abortion liberals balk at.
In their letter, the GOP attorneys general also noted that Biden’s proposed rule “requires applicants to advance health equity.”
The AGs said the 2019 rule enacted by Trump already does this by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
However, the attorneys general warned, if Biden’s proposal is a veiled attempt to favor certain groups over others, it’s probably illegal.
“To the extent promoting health equity differs, and either requires discrimination on the basis of race or should not be aimed at certain patients, such clarification would be necessary though likely contrary to law,” the letter said.
The abortion debate will heat up over the coming months now that the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a Mississippi abortion case challenging the high court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Last week, the court agreed to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a lawsuit seeking to limit abortions by redefining the fetal viability standard.
The case will likely be heard this fall, and a ruling is expected by the summer of 2022.
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