The Obama administration, in the final days of 2016 and of its existence, gave a Christmas gift to Planned Parenthood. Let’s talk about how to take it back.
In the waning days of 2016, when most eyes were turned to the Trump team transition or holiday distractions, the Obama administration developed a new and reprehensible rule to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood is having a rough time lately. The organization was caught on video in 2015 trying to sell body parts of aborted babies, which is a clear violation of federal law. Then, their clear choice for president lost somewhat unexpectedly to a candidate who vividly described abortion in the final presidential debate, before promising to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the legality of their largest moneymaking product: ending the lives of unborn children. All of this while public opinion seems to be drifting in a pro-life direction.
Even so, Planned Parenthood has friends in high places. For example, the Justice Department did nothing to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for what the Center for Medical Progress videos revealed. Instead, CMP was hauled into court for supposedly breaking the law. And Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in annual federal funding.
That money comes to Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, the Title X family planning program, Title XX Social Services block grants, and from a Title V Maternal and Child Health Services block grant. As long as taxpayer funding doesn’t directly pay for abortions, it’s all legal. In an accounting trick, the money goes to help pay for the mammograms that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually provide, while freeing up dollars for the organization to spend on abortion. The scandalous federal spigot for the abortion giant is wide open.
The states, however, are a different matter. In the wake of the awful undercover videos, several states—including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin—redirected their Title X funds earmarked for Planned Parenthood to other organizations that offer health care services to uninsured and low-income Americans.
In response, the Obama administration has invented and adopted a Department of Health and Human Services rule—not a law, mind you—that in effect prohibits states from blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X family planning services grant money.
“With this rule,” says Rep. Diane Black of Tennnessee, “we see an administration that has become unglued at the knowledge of the impending pro-life sea change in Washington, D.C…. They know that hope is rising for the innocent victims of Planned Parenthood’s brutality and the big abortion industry’s days of taxpayer-funded windfalls are numbered.”
It certainly is, because politics and law tend to be downstream from culture. Even so, we have to work to make Black’s prediction come true by insisting that the incoming administration keep its pro-life promises and undo this ugly parting gift to Planned Parenthood and ultimately, to defund the entire organization.
Congressional Republicans have already told federal agencies to forget about “finalizing pending rules or regulations in the administration’s last days.” They warn that they will work to “ensure that Congress scrutinizes” their actions—and, if appropriate, will even “overturn them—pursuant to the Congressional Review Act,” a law that allows rules issued in the waning days of an administration to be removed.
This is more evidence of just how much the battle to protect innocent human life occurs in the states. As Dr. Charmaine Yoest, now a senior fellow at American Values note, “More life-affirming and protective state laws have been enacted since 2010 than in any similar period since Roe v. Wade.”
So as infuriating as the administration’s power-grabbing new rule is, momentum is on the side of life. So be encouraged, keep praying, and please, keep the pressure on.
FURTHER READING AND INFORMATION
Now is the time, as John has requested, that we be praying for life issues to be at the forefront of the new administration’s protective concerns. A great way to be involved and engaged in this movement is to use the Colson Center’s “21 Days of Prayer for Life” guide, available as a free pdf. Download your copy today.