Since the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule to update compliance with legal requirements of the Title X family-planning program, the move has received apocalyptic—and unwarranted—pushback from pro-abortion advocates on the left.
The liberal media have predicted the rule would spell “doomsday” for women’s health.
Title X is a grant program, originally authorized in 1970, is administered by the Office of Population Affairs at HHS. State health departments and private nonprofits are both eligible to apply for grants.
The proposed rule, which the Trump administration proposed in May, modifies existing requirements for Title X family-planning grants in several ways.
These include requiring recipients to maintain physical and financial separation from abortion facilities and prohibiting Title X projects from referring for abortions. They would be able, however, to provide a list of licensed, qualified, comprehensive health service providers, including those that provide abortion.
While pro-abortionists are up in arms about the possibility of restricting funds to the nation’s most prominent abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, little attention is being paid to a key part of the proposed rule: a new regulation ensuring protection for women and children who have experienced sexual abuse or molestation, incest, rape, intimate-partner violence and human trafficking.
The proposed rule would require Title X grant recipients to comply with state and local reporting laws, require annual training for staff at Title X clinics, ensure that they have a site-specific protocol in place to protect victims, and provide counseling to minors on how to resist attempts to coerce them into sexual activity.
The regulation rightly comes after years of reported cases of Planned Parenthood’s neglecting to notify the proper authorities about cases of abuse.
In 2004, a 16-year-old girl who was being sexually abused by her father was taken to a Planned Parenthood facility in Ohio to have an abortion, where she reported the abuse to staff. Planned Parenthood refused to report the abuse to authorities. It later settled with the victim in a lawsuit.
In December 2013, a Planned Parenthood counselor in Arizona intentionally coded a sexual assault as a “consensual encounter,” explaining to the victim that reporting would be too much of a hassle.
Live Action, a pro-life group, recently released an entire report documenting Planned Parenthood’s long-standing failure to report child sex abuse.
Rather than retrain staff to identify traffickers and trafficking victims, Planned Parenthood instead opted to retrain staff to identify undercover journalists investigating the abortion giant.
This disturbing display of skewed priorities is particularly troubling in light of a recent study by the Loyola University Chicago’s Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy, which found that Planned Parenthood was one of the most visited care providers for sex-trafficking victims, second only to emergency rooms.
Sex traffickers often have complete control over their victims, and encounters with health professionals, at establishments such as Planned Parenthood, may be the only opportunity for victim identification and intervention.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, and with the rise of sex trafficking, it’s puzzling that groups that claim to protect women’s rights are blatantly ignoring this injustice and the Trump administration’s willingness to address it, simply because it doesn’t fall in line with its political agenda.
Articles on Slate and the Huffington Post have bashed the Trump administration’s proposed rule as harmful to women, but neither mentioned the parts of the rule that protect women and children from sexual abuse.
While all health establishments should follow mandatory reporting laws, it is especially important that federal dollars do not go to institutions that willfully refuse to report cases of sexual abuse.
It is sickening to know that women and children in need are being snubbed by the people that should be helping them the most—and getting taxpayer dollars to do it.
That’s why I have joined 55 of my colleagues, led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., in sending a letter to HHS calling on the department to investigate reports of Planned Parenthood’s failure to report abuse.
The Trump administration and HHS should be applauded for the new Title X rule. It will prevent federal dollars from continuing to be used as a slush fund for the abortion industry, and hold grant recipients accountable if they fail to help victims of sex abuse and trafficking.
LifeNews Note: Congressman Glenn Grothman, a Republican, represents Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District. He writes for The Daily Signal, where this column originally appeared.