President Trump Makes it Easier for States to Defund Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 19, 2018   |   2:03PM   |   Washington, DC

In a major decision today that will be hailed by the pro-life movement as it participates in the March for Life, President Donald Trump made it easier for states to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

After Planned Parenthood was exposed for selling the body parts of aborted babies, many states wanted to revoke taxpayer funding for the abortion company. However the Obama Administration made it difficult for states to do that by claiming federal control over Medicaid dollars even though States participate with their own taxpayer funds and the federal program.

Today’s decision by the Trump Administration makes it so states have more latitude and control over those taxpayer funds and can make decisions to keep them away from America’s biggest abortion company. Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that the administration was rescinding an Obama-era Medicaid guideline that limited the way states could take action against Planned Parenthood.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, told reporters that the Trump administration believes “it is essential to protect and defend the prohibition of Medicaid coverage from most abortion procedures.”

“This is part of the Trump administration’s commitment to rolling back regulations that Obama administration put out to radically favor abortion,” Yoest said. “Reinstating the pre-2016 standards frees up states to once again decide for themselves what reasonable standards they use to protect Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries.”

One leading pro-life group applauded the move.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately

“President Trump and his administration have taken a monumental stand for conscience rights and an important step toward getting American taxpayers out of funding the abortion industry, especially Planned Parenthood,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Meanwhile, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves told LifeNews she appreciated the action by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reverse the Obama-era policy that forced states to make Medicaid reimbursement payments to Planned Parenthood, blocking state legislatures from prioritizing those funds for local community health centers.

“No American taxpayer should be forced by unelected Washington bureaucrats to pay for abortions. Medicaid dollars should go to local community health centers serving women—not the scandal-ridden billion-dollar abortion industry. In contrast to the Obama administration’s policy designed to reward the Big Abortion lobby, this rule empowers state legislatures to allocate Medicaid funding for women’s health. Upholding decades of federal court precedent and the bipartisan-approved Hyde Amendment, this common-sense policy solution will also help prevent millions of taxpayer dollars from funding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business. We commend the Trump administration for its leadership in protecting women’s health and defending the sanctity of life,” Graves said.

The Medicaid program of taxpayer-paid health insurance for low-income individuals is a shared program involving both state and federal funding.  States are required to put up a match to the federal dollars which varies by state and by program.  In Missouri, for example, the average proportion is approximately 63% federal money and 37% state money.

Although states say they have a right to control their taxpayer dollars, the Obama administration disagreed, as the Washington Post reported at that time:

The Obama administration on Tuesday warned officials in all 50 states that actions to end Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood may be out of compliance with federal law.

Federal health officials said the letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is being sent to all state Medicaid offices to clarify that terminating certain providers from Medicaid is only justifiable if those providers are unable to perform covered medical services or can’t bill for those services. The guidance emphasizes that states cannot target providers for impermissible reasons and are required to treat similar types of providers equitably.

“CMS is sending a letter to all states to ensure they have a clear understanding of their obligation to follow longstanding Medicaid law guaranteeing that beneficiaries have the right to receive covered services, including family planning services, from any qualified and willing provider of their choice,” according to Marissa Padilla, a spokeswoman for the federal Health and Human Services department.

CMS has communicated with the individual state Medicaid offices in the past, but this is the first time the agency has warned all the states collectively, officials said.

Despite what Planned Parenthood claims, some of its former employees say it does not separate the taxpayer funds from its abortion practices. Former Planned Parenthood director Sue Thayer filed a lawsuit, Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, that alleges the abortion business submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid.

The Planned Parenthood abortion business released its newest annual report over the New Year’s weekend. The report indicates the abortion company made more money than ever before.

Although Planned Parenthood bills itself has a woman’s health organization, in reality it is little more than an abortion business. Multiple exposes indicate that it does not provide adoption referrals or prenatal health care for women, but it does more abortions than any other company in the United States.

The report shows that the abortion organization had a record income of $1.46 billion and the fifth highest annual profit—$98.5 million—in its history.

In fact the newest annual report indicates that Planned Parenthood killed over 320,000 unborn children and abortions.  That is well over one-third of all the abortions that take place on an annual basis in the United States.

Fortunately, as a number of abortions continues to fall in almost every state in the country and in the United States and total, Planned Parenthood is no longer killing as many unborn babies. The pro-life movement has been successful in providing abortion alternatives to women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy situation and that is taking its toll on Planned Parenthood abortion totals.