Twenty states are working together to fight a new Biden administration rule, saying it forces taxpayers to subsidize the killing of unborn babies in abortions in clear violation of the law.
This week, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led eight states in filing an amicus brief supporting 12 other states’ lawsuit against the new Title X program rule. They asked a federal court to grant relief to the 12 states by blocking the Biden administration from enforcing the rule.
“A preliminary injunction would stop federal tax dollars from being used to encourage and support abortion, protect the conscience rights of family planning providers who decline to play a role in abortion, and preserve choice of providers and keep family planning services accessible for patients, particularly those in rural areas,” Knudsen’s office said in a statement.
Title X funds are not supposed to be used for abortions. The program provides family planning services to low-income individuals, and the law states that Title X grants may not be used “where abortion is a method of family planning.”
Prior to 2019, Planned Parenthood was one of the largest recipients of Title X funding, receiving about $60 million a year. However, the Trump administration implemented rules requiring participants to make their abortion businesses physically and financially separate from the program and to stop referring women for abortions. Planned Parenthood and a few other abortion groups chose to leave the program as a result.
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However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Biden quickly reversed the rules, so that abortion facilities no longer have to separate their abortion work from their services under the program. HHS now also mandates that Title X participants refer women for abortions.
In October, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost led 12 states in filing a lawsuit challenging the HHS rule. Then, this week, Knudsen and the state attorneys general of Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota and Texas filed a brief supporting their lawsuit.
The Montana Attorney General’s Office said HHS should restore the previous rules, which correctly prohibit referrals for and the subsidizing of elective abortions with Americans’ tax dollars.
“Requiring Title X grantees to make abortion referrals upon request is tantamount to funding a program where abortion is the method of family planning,” Knudsen said in the brief. “Practically, this allows Title X recipients to refer patients for elective abortions at their own abortion facilities.”
The referral requirement also infringes on conscience rights by forcing pro-life individuals and entities to refer women for abortions, the brief continues.
Unless the court blocks the rule, patients in rural areas could lose access to vital health care as well. The HHS rule “will limit choice for patients, especially those who live in rural or remote areas, where faith-based and local community organizations would be more likely to apply … if the abortion counseling and referral requirement were lifted,” the brief states.
Months ago, the twenty states warned the Biden administration of their objections to the new rule before HHS implemented it in October.
A recent Marist poll found that, by a double-digit margin, a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion (54 percent to 39 percent).
Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion chain that aborts more unborn babies than any other group in the U.S. Its latest annual report, which is publicly available online, shows more than 354,000 abortions, about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the same report showed that many of Planned Parenthood’s actual health services continue to decline. It provided less contraception, sterilizations, cancer screenings, adoption referrals and other women’s health services than the previous year, mirroring a continued downward trend.
Its patient numbers also have been dropping steadily over the past decade amid numerous reports of alleged unethical and illegal activities by Planned Parenthood, including selling aborted baby body parts, botching abortions that killed women, covering up the sexual abuse of minors, discriminating against pregnant and racial minority employees, exploiting young girls by selling cross-sex hormones and more.