Republicans Urge Trump Admin to Defund Planned Parenthood By Cutting Its Family Planning Funds

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 16, 2018   |   9:42AM   |   Washington, DC

Pro-life lawmakers have not given up their efforts to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood at the federal level.

And new policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is one way they are trying to achieve that goal.

The Hill reports a large group of House Republicans recently urged HHS officials appointed by President Donald Trump to restrict Title X Family Planning Program funds to groups that refer patients for abortions.

Planned Parenthood is one of the largest recipients of those taxpayer funds. Title X dollars are supposed to be used to help low-income women and men receive birth control, cancer screenings and other health care services. While the tax money cannot be used to pay for abortions, it indirectly funds Planned Parenthood’s large abortion business.

The Republican Study Committee, made up of 154 conservative House members, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking for the change, the report states.

Here’s more from the report:

The members are also asking that Title X organizations be physically and financially separated from facilities that provide abortions.

“The Title X Family Planning Program is in dire need of review and updated regulations that ensure program integrity with respect to elective abortion,” members of the RSC wrote in a draft letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, obtained by The Hill.

The letter is being circulated for signatures among House Republicans by Reps. Ron Estes (Kan.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.) and Chris Smith (N.J.)

Under current law, Title X funding recipients are required to offer counseling to women in the case of a positive pregnancy test on their options, which include adoption and abortion.

The members argue that the requirement deters organizations opposed to abortion from applying for the funds.

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The members also argue that allowing Title X organizations to be co-located with abortion providers “raises concerns about program integrity.”

Several states do restrict Title X funds to abortion groups; however, Planned Parenthood still receives about 40 percent of the funding each year, according to the report.

In the past year, the Trump administration has cut several other streams of funding to Planned Parenthood. Soon after Trump took office, he signed the Mexico City Policy to prevent the funding of groups that promote or perform abortions overseas. This includes the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which received tax dollars under the Obama administration.

In addition, in 2017, the Trump administration cut millions of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood through the failed Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. HHS spokesman Mark Vafiades told the New York Times last year that there is very little evidence that the program was successful.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in America, aborting approximately 320,000 unborn babies every year. Its most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.46 billion, with about half a billion dollars coming from taxpayers.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice said it is investigating whether the abortion chain illegally sold aborted baby body parts.