The Democratic-led COVID-19 relief package could send up to $50 million to abortion providers through Title X family planning funds.
The $1.9 trillion bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives early Saturday morning, would appropriate $50 million to the Department Health and Human Services (HHS) under section 1001 of the Public Health Service Act, which refers to Title X family planning services. Under recent changes from the Biden administration, HHS could send that money to abortion clinics, a policy expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“This is a huge red flag in this bill,” Rachel Bovard, Senior Director of Policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, told the DCNF. “It will go to Planned Parenthood clinics.”
Former President Donald Trump ordered in July 2019 that family planning clinics be stripped of their Title X funding if they refer women for abortions. The president’s rules required that organizations that perform abortions and make abortion referrals do so in separate buildings from those that receive Title X federal funds.
President Joe Biden’s administration quickly took steps to reverse the policy.
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In a Jan. 28 executive order, the new president ordered HHS to perform a review of Title X family planning regulations and and consider “as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations.”
“The Title X Rule has caused the termination of Federal family planning funding for many women’s healthcare providers and puts women’s health at risk by making it harder for women to receive complete medical information,” a White House memorandum on the order said.
Bovard suspects that HHS will hold the funds until Trump’s executive order on Title X has been reversed.
“HHS grants take a number of months to process,” she told the DCNF, “so by the time the money is ready to be obligated to grantees, the restrictions will be gone.”
HHS alerted clinics in June 2019 that it would enforce the Trump administration’s ban, and Planned Parenthood withdrew from the Title X federal family planning program in August 2019 rather than comply with this decision, thereby forgoing about $60 million a year.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley slammed the move in a Tuesday statement to the DCNF.
“It’s clear that President Biden is using this bill as a Trojan Horse to push a radical progressive agenda,” Hawley told the DCNF. “I challenge any Democrat to tell me with a straight face what unlocking federal funds for abortion providers has to do with beating the pandemic.”
Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson praised the COVID bill in a Feb. 27 statement, noting that it includes “critical funding for the Title X family planning program.”
“This funding is another crucial step toward helping those most harmed by the pandemic get the care they need to stay healthy and to build their own futures — during this pandemic and beyond,” she said.
Biden marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to appoint judges who respect the ruling as precedent and promising to codify Roe v. Wade. He also promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortions, and rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which prevented federal funds from going to abortions abroad.
LifeNews Note: Mary Margaret Olohan writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.