‘Pro-life grassroots are hungry for a victory…and President Trump can deliver that victory…’
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Pro-life citizens in more than 140 locations across the country held rallies over the weekend urging the Trump administration to issue rules that would curtail tens of millions of dollars annually from federal funding of abortions.
Leading the charge was Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, who wrote a column last week in the Washington Examiner spelling out the de-funding strategy.
The overall coalition of more than 75 national, state and local pro-life organizations is known as “#ProtestPP,” which specifically aims to defund Planned Parenthood, which it calls the nation’s largest abortion provider.
At issue is the Title X Family Planning Program operated out of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
As Dannenfelser explained, Title X has a clause saying the money “shall not be used in ‘programs where abortion is a method of family planning,’ [but,] in practice, there’s an enormous loophole: Clinton-era rules require all grantees to refer [patients] for abortions and allow abortion facilities to be co-located within Title X clinics.”
So a Planned Parenthood “clinic” could claim that it does not perform abortions, but then recommend that the patient secure an abortion and send her for the actual operation to another office, also run by Planned Parenthood, in the very same building.
This loophole is like saying it’s illegal to hire a hit man for a murder, but not illegal to hire a middle man to hire a hit man for a murder.
Either way, the money comes from the same source and goes to the same murderer.
Planned Parenthood receives, directly or indirectly, some $60 million annually in Title X funding.
The liberal Guttmacher Institute, originally founded by Planned Parenthood, warned late last year that restricting the ability of Planned Parenthood to use Title X funds would mean that all other Title X providers of contraception would be “hard-pressed” to handle the caseload, which “would need to increase their caseloads by 70 percent, on average.”
Nonetheless, what #ProtestPP wants is merely a return to the same regulations that existed under Ronald Reagan.
Those regulations prohibit Title X recipients from either referring patients for abortions or performing them on site.
The Reagan regulations are perfectly legal: They already have passed muster at the Supreme Court, in the 1991 case of Rust v. Sullivan.
In fact, the high court found in that case that the Reagan regulations were “more in keeping with the original intent of the statute” than the alternative interpretation (which was adopted under President Bill Clinton and remains in force today).
Dannenfelser said it now is time for President Trump to “fulfill the promise he made to voters to get taxpayers out of the abortion business by ending federal funding for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.”
Dannenfelser’s sentiments were echoed by Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League.
“The pro-life grassroots are hungry for a victory in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and President Trump can deliver that victory,” he said.
The online publication Modern Healthcare reported last week not just that the Trump administration is considering making the regulatory change desired by the pro-life groups, but that it is “expected” to do so via executive order “in early May.”
This would please conservative U.S. Reps. Ron Estes, (R-Kan.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who circulated a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar last week saying that “”To ensure that the federally funded family planning services offered by Title X grant recipients are unquestionably separate and distinct from abortion, Title X service sites should be physically, as well as financially, separate from facilities that provide abortion.”