Lankford Fires Back at HHS for Withholding Funding for Cancer & AIDS Screenings for Biden’s Radical Abortion Agenda

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) pressed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra for answers on why the Biden Administration suspended the $4.5 million Title X Family Planning grant awarded to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) over its unwillingness to advertise for abortion. Oklahoma law protects life starting at conception. Lankford made clear that the Administration’s decision not only deprives Oklahoma of funding for preventative health screenings but it also violates federal law. 

As the Senate’s most pro-life member, Lankford has been a leading voice for the protection of life. Lankford wrote a letter to HHS with the Oklahoma delegation to call on the agency to reverse the suspension without delay and introduced a bicameral bill to clarify that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cannot discriminate against Title X grantees, including states, for their stance on protecting life.


Lankford: You know this is coming because your office contacted us at 11:00 pm last night to try to answer a question on this. So let me ask for a little more clarityLast year you created a rule on Title X funding that if my state, which my state currently has laws that protect the lives of every child born and unborn, that if my state does not put on our health pamphlets, brochures—whatever it may be—a way for people to get access to an abortion, if they did not put that 1-800 phone number on there, we would lose Title X funding.

You followed through on your threat and you took away Title X funding from my state, which takes away from my rural counties AIDS testing, cancer screenings, all of those things you took away from my state because my state would literally not put a phone number in our health brochures of where people could go get an abortion.

First of all, let me start that violates federal law because obviously Title X funding is not about abortion. That’s specifically in federal law so you’ve created something entirely new with that. The second thing I would say is why would you take away that funding and is that true?…The funding is taken away my state has lost that money for AIDS testing and cancer screenings in our county health departments because of that.

Becerra:So Senator I’m not surprised by your question and you’re not going to be surprised by my answer. And that I don’t agree with the way you framed this because if it was if it were as you framed it, we would be in court right now losing but—

Lankford: You are in court right now, there is an appeal that’s going on.

Becerra:And so far we are able to enforce the law as it stands and all the law says is individuals who are going in for services should know what services are entitled to. We’re not saying anything about abortion. We’re just simply saying a person should be informed of the services that could be available to them under Title X. And if a state wants to not abide by the law, they understand the consequences. They won’t get their money.

LankfordSo the specific law that you’re stating there is if we don’t put a 1-800 number where to go get an abortion—

Becerra: That’s not the case that is the case—

Lankford: Actually, we’ve verified this. We’ve walked through the process that is the one issue when we asked if we added this one phone number to brochures does that, fulfill everything and we were told yes that would fulfill everything. It is just a phone number where to go get an abortion because you can’t get in the state. So what is happened then is AIDS testing goes away in my state, cancer screening goes away. I mean that’s a pretty big bully tactic to be able to say, ‘I’m going to remove all these things if you don’t do what we’re asking you to do,’ which is not in the statute.

Becerra: Senator, we follow the law we expect those who want federal dollars to follow the law. 

Lankford: Well, we’re also following the law…Clearly we’re being withheld from that.