By Rep. Ron Estes (R-Ks.)
Editor’s note. This op-ed was posted by The Wichita Eagle on September 8, 2019. Kansans for Life forwarded it on today. In April 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court essentially removed all protections for vulnerable women and their unborn children. To fight back, we have to pass a constitutional amendment and we need your help! Go to kfl.org to learn more!
Planned Parenthood has placed abortion profits over women’s health — again.
Recently, the abortion giant announced it would stop participating in the Title X family planning program, and receiving those federal tax dollars, after new guidelines set by the Trump administration required a clear separation between any organization’s abortion practices and actual family planning services.
While the abortion industry has dubbed this a “gag rule,” it’s simply not true. Instead, it’s a refusal by groups like Planned Parenthood to separate their abortion business from other health care practices. This means Planned Parenthood will lose out on roughly $60 million in tax dollars it received each year through Title X — money which will now be diverted to other health care clinics that value their patients and care about the unborn. This separation also adheres to the original intent of the Title X program.
Created by Congress in 1970, Title X authorizes taxpayer funds to support family planning services, while clearly prohibiting federal funds from being awarded to abortion providers.
The Reagan administration codified this through guidelines which were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991.
Unfortunately, Clinton-era regulations regarding Title X that had previously remained in place allowed Title X tax dollars to go to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The new Protect Life Rule, similar to the guidelines issued by the Reagan administration, ensures Title X funding goes to family planning providers that are physically and financially separated from abortion activities. This does not take any money away from family planning services, but ensures funding goes to providers focused on women’s health care.
Furthermore, the rule increases accountability and oversight in cases of suspected sexual abuse of minors.
Last year, I led efforts in Congress to urge the Trump administration to issue these new guidelines. Nearly 200 Members of the House and Senate joined the effort.
The Trump administration listened and announced the “Protect Life Rule” following a lengthy and comprehensive public comment period, showing a commitment to hearing from the public.
Starting July 15, Title X recipients no longer refer mothers for abortion services and must keep finances separate from facilities that provide abortions. Beginning in March 2020, abortion facilities will no longer be allowed to co-locate with clinics that receive Title X funding.
I was proud to help lead this fight to restore the original intent of the Title X program. The Protect Life Rule is common sense policy that protects family planning and supports mothers while ensuring tax dollars don’t go to abortion providers.
Sadly, common sense and consensus have been lost in the debate over protecting the unborn and abortion rights.
In Congress, House Democrats have let partisan politics stand in the way of a straightforward bill requiring health care providers to provide the same care to a baby who has survived a botched abortion as they would to any other infant. As of July, Democrats have blocked a vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act 80 times.
After Kansas legislators banned the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion, our Kansas Supreme Court justices approved a radical ruling inserting the right to an abortion into the Kansas Constitution. Given this tragic misrepresentation of our founding document, many Kansans are calling for a constitutional amendment that reflects our values and clearly defines that a right to an abortion is not a Kansas constitutional right.
While the battles in Washington and Topeka continue, I am glad the administration has achieved a great victory for life through this rule. Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood had a choice: separate your abortion business from other services or leave a program focused on women’s health. Yet as Planned Parenthood chooses abortion profits over women’s health care, pro-life Kansans and actual family planning providers can be assured that the Title X program will once again serve its intended purpose.