Senators Lankford, Ernst, Blunt, Daines Applaud HHS Proposal To Redirect Title X Funding

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Steve Daines (R-MT) today applauded the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) proposed regulation that would change how Title X grants are awarded. In this change, the health of mothers and babies are prioritized. It also clarifies the policy that abortion is not a family planning method. Specifically, HHS today filed a rule-making proposal with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to restore Title X family planning regulations that prohibit grantees from co-locating with abortion clinics, or from promoting, or referring clients for abortions. This proposal comes after the senators and 37 of their colleagues requested HHS Secretary Alex Azar to update the Title X regulations. 

The HHS proposed rule would restore the Reagan-era regulations to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure the complete separation of abortion activities from federally-funded family planning activities. The policy changed under President Clinton to require that grantees be willing to refer for abortion and allow abortion clinics and Title X clinics to share facilities.

“Regardless of our differences of opinion on when life begins, we should all agree that no taxpayer should be forced to fund abortion providers with their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Lankford. “Each administration has the authority to determine how Title X funds will be distributed and I applaud this administration’s proposal to redirect federal funding from abortion providers to health care for mothers and babies.”

“President Trump took a significant step forward today to protect the sanctity of life,” said Ernst. “The clarification and separation between family planning and abortion has been restored – protecting taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, our unborn children. The redirection of these Title X funds to other entities, such as federally qualified community health centers, which continue to outnumber Planned Parenthood agencies in Iowa, will provide better and more comprehensive care for women and families, regardless of a person’s ability to pay.”

“Taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion because of misguided regulations that blur the line between family planning and abortion,” said Blunt. “I applaud the Trump administration for taking steps to restore the legally-mandated separation between family planning and abortion. The new rule will be critical to ensuring the integrity of the Title X program and directing resources toward community health centers that provide more comprehensive health care services for women.” 

“Abortion is not family planning,” said Daines. “Now these taxpayer funds will go toward saving lives, not ending them, including at Montana’s 17 community health centers. I applaud President Trump for taking action to protect the unborn, and fighting for those who do not have a voice.”

This new HHS rule-making proposal also requires Title X clinics to provide better protection for victims of sexual assault by requiring clinics to document their compliance with state reporting laws.

Planned Parenthood receives about $450 million in total federal funding every year. In March, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an extensive report that detailed the amount of federal tax dollars spent from 2013-2015 by three abortion providers including Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The largest amount of that funding was $170 million from Title X programs.

In January 2017, Lankford, Blunt, and Daines joined Senator Ernst to introduce the “Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act,” a bill that would redirect taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood to other eligible women’s health care providers that don’t perform abortions.