By Jennifer Popik, J.D. Director of Federal Legislation
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump proposed a budget request for fiscal year 2019 containing multiple pro-life provisions. Several key elements include defunding certain abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, as well as prohibiting funding to groups that support overseas programs that engage in coercive abortion.
While the President’s budget request is merely the first step in a lengthy process that will seldom contain all of a President’s targets, the pro-life nature of this budget request should hearten pro-lifers.
Defunding Certain Abortion Providers, Including Planned Parenthood
According to the recently released budget proposal, “The Budget includes provisions prohibiting certain abortion providers from receiving Federal funds from HHS, including those that receive funding under the Title X Family Planning program and Medicaid, among other HHS programs.”
The proposed budget would close the largest pipeline for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and apply as well to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Title V and Title XX block grant programs.
These sources account for roughly 89% of all federal funds that currently flow to Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of abortions – at least one-third of all abortions in the U.S. are performed at Planned Parenthood-affiliated facilities. According to their most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood received at least $528 million annually from the federal government or state and local governments.
Based on data from their own annual report from 2013-2014, nearly one in eight women walking through the door of a Planned Parenthood clinic has an abortion. A background memo from National Right to Life is available here.
Continuation of Prohibiting Funding to the UNFPA
After many long years under the Obama Administration’s funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Trump Administration ceased funding for the organization in April of 2017. The UNFPA does not currently receive funding from the U.S. government because of its extensive involvement in China’s population control program — which relies heavily upon coerced abortions. The budget proposal would continue to ensure that the UNFPA does not receive funding going forward.
Overturning DC’s discriminatory law against pro-life and other conservative groups that are based in the District
In 2014, the District Council enacted a local law, the so-called “Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act” (RHNDA). The RHNDA prohibits employers within the District from engaging in “discrimination” on the basis of “decisions” reached by employees, or potential employees, regarding “reproductive health” matters. It is not disputed that abortion is among the matters encompassed by the term “reproductive health” as used in the new law. The scope of the RHNDA is very broad, covering any “decisions” that are “related to the use . . . of a particular . . . medical service . . .”
The National Right to Life Committee advocates for recognition that each unborn child is a member of the human family, and that each abortion stops a beating heart and ends the life of a developing human being. That viewpoint is shared by many women who once believed otherwise and submitted to abortions, and by many men who once believed otherwise and were complicit in abortion; such persons number among the most committed activists within our organization and other pro-life organizations.
Yet it would be intolerable for an advocacy organization such as ours to be required to hire, or prohibited from firing, a person who makes a “decision” to engage in advocacy or any other activity that is directly antithetical to our core mission to lawfully advocate for the civil rights of the unborn.
The President’s budget proposal overturns RHNDA.
In addition to those detailed above, there are numerous other prolife protections interwoven throughout the President’s budget request. With coming midterm elections, it remains critical that Congress can retain prolife majorities, and grow those majorities in the Senate in order that prolife advances can continue under this President.