On May 1, 2018, 86 pro-life leaders including Karen Bowling the Executive Director of Nebraska Family Alliance, signed a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar. The letter calls for the Department to end the distribution of Title X Family Planning grants to abortion clinics.
The letter reads:
Reinstating President Ronald Reagan’s Title X regulations is sorely needed to bring the program into clear alignment with the statutory requirement stating, “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Abortion is not family planning and the law recognizes that.
The Reagan regulations complied with this requirement by directing taxpayer funds to Title X locations that did not perform or refer for abortion. This action does not ban abortion or abortion referral in the private sector. It only governs the types of centers that the federal government chooses to fund using taxpayer dollars. Federally funded family planning centers should not refer for abortion or be co-located with abortion clinics. These regulations were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan (500 U.S. 173).
The result of this policy is simply to separate the Title X network of family planning providers from abortionists like Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion chain. A GAO report issued earlier this year showed that Title X is currently Planned Parenthood’s second largest funding stream, generating $50-$60 million for the abortion giant. By shifting funding to clinic sites that do not perform or refer for abortion, you will send a strong message that abortion is not family planning consistent with the law creating the program.
In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, Congress provided $286 million for the Title X program. It is time to reinstate common-sense pro-life safeguards before the end of the fiscal year when the Congress and the President will face another funding deadline.
In 2018, the Nebraska Legislature passed the state budget bill with a similar provision. In 2015 and 2016, state audit reports showed misuse in how abortion clinics used Title X funds that could jeopardize the whole program. This language is a reasonable adjustment to Nebraska law that protects the valuable services of Title X by completely separating them from the abortion industry. Greater separation provides more accountability and transparency.
The language is consistent with federal regulations and federal law. In 2017, Congress passed and President Trump signed H.J. Res. 43 into law, giving states the power to divert Title X funds away from clinics that perform, counsel in favor of or refer for abortion.
NFA is proud to have signed the letter to Secretary Azar. As it states, “Abortion is not family planning,” and Title X shouldn’t be used to subsidize the abortion industry in Nebraska or any other state.