Two leading female pro-life lawmakers are demanding answers this week after the Obama Administration sent them a “short form letter” that did not address their concerns about a new Planned Parenthood funding regulation.
The proposed rule, introduced in September by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), could prevent states from blocking Title X funding (federal tax dollars for family planning services) to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood. It essentially would prohibit states from defunding the abortion business.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, quickly responded with a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell that outlined their concerns about the proposed regulation. More than 100 pro-life Senators and Representatives cosigned the letter.
Earlier this month, Black and Ernst said they received a response that was not really a response at all. They said the Obama Administration sent them a “form letter” that did not address any of their concerns.
“Either Secretary Burwell and her staff know they cannot defend this blatantly political maneuver to prop up Planned Parenthood, or they don’t have enough respect for Congress to give the courtesy of a substantive reply,” Black told LifeNews in a statement.
“Either is unacceptable. If the Obama Administration is going to act unilaterally to limit states’ ability to fund healthcare providers that best serve their citizens, then they should have come prepared to answer basic questions like those raised in our letter,” she continued.
She criticized the administration for a “stunning disregard” for the concerns of pro-life Americans.
On Monday, Black and Ernst wrote a follow-up letter to Burwell, requesting detailed answers to their questions and concerns.
“The Department’s non-answer to our inquiry shows disrespect for the oversight role of Congress and for those Americans who, like us, have grave concerns regarding this overreaching proposed rule,” they wrote in the letter.
Back in September, Black told LifeNews that she was not surprised to see the new regulation come out of Obama’s pro-abortion administration.
“We’ve known all along that the Obama Administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry. 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,” Black said.
“Now, they have taken the unprecedented step of thwarting states’ rights with a shady proposed rule change that prevents states from funding the providers who will best serve their citizens,” she continued.
Obama’s proposed rule would prevent states from revoking taxpayer funding for the abortion company Planned Parenthood, even though there are comprehensive, qualified health care providers that could receive the funding instead.
For example, under current state law, the state of Tennessee doles out Title X funding provided by HHS to county health departments, who then determine appropriate sub-grantees. All 95 counties have identified community health centers and other providers aside from Planned Parenthood that meet all Title X eligibility criteria to receive this funding, effectively cutting off Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funds in Tennessee.
The proposed rule from HHS cites other examples of states such as Florida and Texas enacting or attempting to enact similar measures. The rule would attempt to undermine such state laws, explaining that it “precludes project recipients [states] from using criteria in their selection of subrecipients that are unrelated to the ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”