In May, we informed you about a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would prevent taxpayer funded grants through Title X from being given to organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that provide abortion services. If adopted, this rule will cut approximately $60 million of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding.
We told you then, this proposed rule is undergoing a period for public comment (which ends today) and, as expected, nearly 107,000 public comments have been submitted. As promised, the ACLJ has also submitted its public comment on behalf of itself and more than 175,000 of our members – you – urging HHS to adopt this proposed pro-life rule in its entirety. In addition, more that 13,000 individual comments have also been directly submitted by ACLJ members – accounting for more than 10% of all comments submitted nationwide.
Our comment supports the adoption the proposed rule as it (a) restores Title X to its proper function as the only domestic federal program solely designed to provide affordable family planning services to low income families without promoting abortion or misusing funds to support abortion; (b) increases the means by which women and their families can seek, and the manner in which Title X providers can offer, these services, including the use of natural family planning; and (c) protects women and children by requiring Title X service providers to comply with state and local reporting and notification laws regarding rape, abuse, incest, and neglect.
Moreover, our comment also explains that the proposed rule closely mirrors the Reagan-era rule – which has already been litigated and upheld on both statutory and constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court in Rust v. Sullivan – and is constitutionally sound.
As we state in our comment, this proposed rule
restores Title X to its proper and vital function as the only domestic federal program designed to provide low cost and efficient family planning services to low income families. Without the distraction of abortion in the form of referrals, promotion, and advocacy, and without the misuse of funds to support an abortion infrastructure, the Rule frees up resources to better aid women and families in deciding how to best plan for their futures.
Furthermore, the Rule multiplies the means by which women and their families can seek, and the manner in which Title X providers can offer, these invaluable services, including the use of natural family planning. Finally, for the first time in decades, women will no longer have to choose between planning their family’s future and living in accordance with their sincerely held beliefs. The Rule is proof that religious liberty and women’s healthcare do not have to stand in opposition to one another, but can actually work together to better the lives of American women and families.
Moreover, the Rule protects women and children from abuse, rape, incest, and neglect by requiring Title X service providers to comply with state and local reporting and notification laws. No longer will certain abortion providers be allowed to hide behind confidentiality or turn a blind eye to the abuse that sits before them. It is horrifying that this situation has not been addressed sooner, but the ACLJ is pleased to see this step being taken now.
Finally, while the ACLJ fully endorses the Rule, we urge HHS to go further. Specifically, the ACLJ encourages the Department to require not only financial, but also organizational separation between Title X-funded projects and those outside the program’s scope. Such a provision would serve as an essential roadblock in the way of entities that would seek to use Title X money as a fungible tool to support services, no matter how well meaning, outside the scope of Title X, including the promotion and performance of abortion. While the Rule is an excellent first step, we encourage HHS to remain ever vigilant, to continue to find new ways to protect the integrity of this vital program, and to better promote the health and welfare of the American family.
Once the comment period has ended, HHS will review the public comments in support of or opposition to the rule. According to HHS, “[p]ublic comments play an important role in shaping and revising regulations,” and can influence the final language and outcome of a rule. This is one of the reasons why the ACLJ is so actively engaged on this issue, and why it is imperative that you make your support of this rule known.
Our tax dollars have been used to fund Big Abortion for far too long, and now is the perfect opportunity to take a stand and tell our government that no more should our tax dollars be used to end the lives of innocent babies.
If you didn’t get a chance to sign our petition and add your name to our public comment, it’s not too late! You can still make your voice heard and let HHS know that the American public overwhelmingly supports this rule by visiting the following link and submitting your own official comment – before today’s deadline – support of the rule here.
You can also continue to sign on to our petition below.
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