The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to pass a bill to overturn a rule pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place preventing states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prevented states from blocking Title X funding to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood.
The Senate voted 50-50 for the bill, with a couple of liberal pro-abortion Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the abortion giant and Republicans voting pro-life. The tie vote made it so pro-life Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the measure.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader, talked about the need for the pro-life bill.
He said: “On its way out the door, the Obama Administration issued a regulation that prohibited states from allocating certain health prevention funds in the way that would have best served local communities. It substituted Washington’s judgments for the needs of real people, controlling America’s access to health care communities while hurting the health centers that so many Americans, especially women, depend upon. This regulation is an unnecessary restriction on states that know their residents own needs a lot better than the Federal Government. Fortunately by sending the CRA before us to the president’s desk we can return power back to the people and will do so without decreasing funding to women’s health care by a penny.”
This is a separate and distinct issue from the battle over direct funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion company.
Last month, the House voted 230-188 to overturn Obama’s anti-defunding rule wit Republicans voting 227-2 for it and Democrats voting 186-2 against it.
In recent years, several states receiving Title X family planning grants have opted to direct those funds to county health departments, community health centers, or other types of providers, in preference to organizations engaged in objectionable activities, such as Planned Parenthood, a mega-marketer of abortion that has also been involved in selling aborted baby parts.
H.J. Res. 43, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, would mean that states, if they chose, could continue to attempt to redirect Title X funds away from objectionable organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) filed bills to overturn the rule.
“State legislatures around the country have spoken out about their preference for prioritizing more comprehensive primary and preventative care providers for the receipt of Title X funding,” the duo wrote in a joint op-ed for the Washington Examiner, “and their voice should be respected by bureaucrats in the federal government.”
“According to its 2014-2015 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortion procedures in just one year. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the abortion industry in this country. Nor should they be forced to foot the bill for an organization like Planned Parenthood that has displayed such blatant disregard for human life.”
“With a pro-life president in the White House and pro-life majorities in the House and Senate, we will continue to work together this year to undo the damage done by the Obama administration,” the women write.
Leading pro-life groups like National Right to Life support the bill. In its letter to House members, NRLC wrote: “Over one-third of all abortions in the U.S. are performed at PPFA-affiliated facilities. Longstanding objections to the massive governmental funding of PPFA have been reinforced by widely publicized undercover videos, which illuminate the callous brutality that occurs daily in these abortion mills.”
Other groups also applauded the House.
“President Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry was in keeping with his Administration’s actions over the last eight years. At every turn, then-President Obama thwarted efforts by state and local authorities – who were acting on the will of the people – to prioritize taxpayer funding away from Big Abortion,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Obama’s legacy of forcing Americans to finance the abortion industry is being steadily dismantled by our new pro-life President and the pro-life Congress. We look forward to swift passage of this resolution in the Senate so that it can receive President Trump’s signature.”
She told LifeNews: “Planned Parenthood which, according to their latest annual report, performed 323,999 abortions in a single year, does not need or deserve taxpayer dollars. We thank Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for leading the effort to overturn this unpopular rule. Their leadership reflects the truth that women largely support stopping taxpayer funding of the abortion industry and redirecting funds to centers that offer real health care.”
Recently, two new videos showed former Planned Parenthood employees discussing how women were “treated like cattle” and “herded” through clinics. In last week’s video, a former manager admitted Planned Parenthood had “abortion quotas” that, if met, would result in pizza parties. Other videos have exposed Planned Parenthood’s claim of providing prenatal services and demonstrated that ultrasounds are used almost exclusively for abortion.
Here’s an example of how Obama’s rule has prevented states from revoking taxpayer funding for the abortion company Planned Parenthood.
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 who meet all Title X eligibility criteria to receive this funding, effectively cutting off Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funds in the state of Tennessee.
The rule from HHS cites other examples of states such as Florida and Texas enacting or attempting to enact similar measures. The rule undermines 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.”