WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Barack Obama is putting into place a new rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)will prohibit states from restricting Title X funding, which controls federal dollars for contraception and abortion.
Title X funds are often doled out to Planned Parenthood, which then uses the funds for "family planning services." The rule will go into effect two days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. The rule requires that state governments distribute federal funds concerning contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and other health matters to medical clinics regardless of whether or not they perform abortions.
The chief medical officer at the HHS, Dr. Karen Scott, praised the decision. "This rule will strengthen access to essential services like cancer screenings and contraception for some of the most vulnerable patients in this country," she said.
But some are criticizing the administration's decision as a last desperate push from the pro-abortion lobby.
Pro-life congresswoman Diane Black remarked,
With this rule, we see an administration that has become unglued at the knowledge of the impending pro-life sea change in Washington, D.C. President Obama knows 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. We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this 11th-hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long.
Although the rule is being finalized by the Obama administration, it will be put in serious jeopardy by the incoming Trump administration. According to the HHS, repealing the rule would require a resolution of disapproval by both houses of Congress, with the incoming president's approval.
At the moment, about 10 percent of health clinics that receive federal funding through Title X are associated with Planned Parenthood.
Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, commented on the decision. "President Obama has cemented his legacy as a champion for women's health," she said. "This rule protects birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other health care for millions of people."
In response, Alliance Defending Freedom's senior counsel, Steven H. Aden, criticized the decision. "The Obama administration, even in its waning hours, has chosen to put Planned Parenthood's Big Abortion agenda ahead of women's health and the right of states to decide how best to prioritize public health funding so that patients and the most comprehensive health providers come first," he remarked.
"Donald Trump should restore the focus on women's health and the ability of states to best serve them by rescinding this Title X order immediately after taking office as president," he added.