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Lankford Leads Fight to Protect Oklahoma’s Health Care Funding

WASHINGTON, DC– Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today, on the heels of the Biden Administration suspending Title X family planning grant funding in response to the state’s efforts to protect life, 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. In June, Lankford wrote a letter to HHS with the Oklahoma delegation to call on the agency to reverse the suspension without delay. Joining him in introducing the bill are Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK). 

“Many Oklahomans, especially those in rural areas with limited access to affordable health care, rely on Oklahoma State Department of Health’s family planning program, which is funded through Title X grant awards. These services include cancer screenings, pregnancy prevention, STI diagnostics and treatment, breast exams, depression screenings and referrals, among a long list of other services,” said Lankford. “But the Biden Administration’s obsession with increasing the number of abortions in America is so extreme they are willing to deny needy Oklahomans health care access unless Oklahoma agrees to promote abortion. This bill stops HHS’ discrimination against states that value the life of every child and ensure access to high quality and affordable health care.” 

“The Biden administration wants to punish Oklahoma for protecting unborn lives,” said Mullin. “OSDH serves 30,000 Oklahomans in need, and it’s absurd that HHS is willing to suspend essential OSDH funding and hurt Oklahomans simply for abiding by state and federal laws. I join my delegation colleagues in standing against this suspension and clarifying that HHS cannot discriminate against Title X grantees who uphold the sanctity of life.”

“Taxpayer dollars should not be going toward funding abortion,” said Blackburn. “The Biden administration has been intent on punishing certain states, including Tennessee, simply because they protect unborn children. This legislation would ensure that Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services cannot withhold Title X funding from states solely because they stand against Biden’s abortion on demand agenda.”

“I am disappointed in the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind Title X funds from grantee states such as Oklahoma for their stance to protect life,” said Cole. “Title X family planning grants go above and beyond just the protection of life by providing life-saving preventative screenings and other health care services in rural areas. These funds are vital to many areas in Oklahoma, and I am proud to join my colleagues in the introduction of this critical legislation to ensure Oklahomans can continue to have access to affordable health care.”

On the one-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to ask the simple question: when does life begin? In his remarks, he explained the importance of the Title X family planning grant to Oklahoma and reiterated how President Biden’s Administration is the most pro-abortion White House in history. 

The bill is supported by Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Americans United for Life, CatholicVote, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, National Right to Life Committee, Family Research Council, Students for Life Action, Scholars at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and March for Life Action.

You may download the bill here.