Planned Parenthood and the New Title X Rules
By Jim Sedlak
On Monday, March 4, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services published the final rules dealing with the Title X family planning program. Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million a year in Title X money and must follow these rules in order to keep receiving the funds.
The basic requirements of the new rules are as follows:
- Prohibits Title X projects from referring for abortion: (Section 59.14) “A Title X project may not perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”
- Requires Title X entities to maintain physical and financial separation. (Section 59.15) According to the final rule, factors for determining whether objective integrity and independence exist includes: “the existence of separate and accurate accounting records,” “the degree of separation from facilities,” and “the existence of separate personnel.” NOTE: The grantees have until March 4, 2020, to achieve physical separation and until July 2, 2019, to achieve financial separation.
- Prohibits activities that encourage, promote, or advocate for abortion. (Section 59.16) “A Title X project may not encourage, promote or advocate abortion as a method of family planning. This restriction prohibits actions in the funded project that assist women to obtain abortions for family planning purposes or to increase the availability or accessibility of abortion for family planning purposes.”
- Requires compliance with abuse reporting laws. (Section 59.17) “Title X projects shall comply with all State and local laws requiring notification or reporting of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, or human trafficking.”
These new rules are essentially the same ones that President Ronald Reagan tried to enforce back in the 1980s. After his rules were implemented, Planned Parenthood and other entities rushed to the courts and filed lawsuits to prevent their implementation. Eventually, the dispute made it all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1991 (three years after Reagan left office), the Court ruled (Rust v. Sullivan) that the federal government has the right to control the speech and activities of groups implementing programs paid for by the federal government. Therefore, the rules were upheld. Unfortunately, President Bush did not have the time to implement the laws before President Clinton took office.
Now, the rules are back, and, once again, Planned Parenthood and many other entities are preparing lawsuits. The Washington Examiner reported that 21 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over new rules that would cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide or discuss abortions. An article in the Washington Post quoted Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as calling the new rules “unconscionable and unethical.” She then made a ridiculous analogy:
“Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen. Reproductive health care should be no different.”
Wen has the gall to equate providing insulin with killing an innocent preborn human being!
The Post article then observed:
“Wen has said the group could not accept funds under the rule because it would compromise its ethical obligations to patients.”
Wow. Who knew that Planned Parenthood even thought about doing things “ethically”? Of course, Planned Parenthood leaders receive awards for spreading the religion of Humanism that maintains there are no objective rights and wrongs. So, Wen’s definition of ethical is probably much different than what the average American thinks it is.
As noted above, we have been through all this before. Over 30 years ago these rules traveled through the court system for half-a-dozen years only to be validated by the Supreme Court. What should happen is that, when the lawsuits are filed and they arrive at a lower court, the court should say, “This has already been decided in Rust v. Sullivan” and allow the rules to go into effect.
Let’s applaud the Trump administration for doing the right thing here—knowing that it was going to be met with the firestorm that is now brewing. It is not easy in 21st-century America to take action to protect the lives of innocent preborn human beings. Thank God we have a leader who is willing to do it. Thank you, Mr. President!
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.