By Dave Andrusko
In case you missed it yesterday, National Right to Life sent an important letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra registering NRLC’s strong opposition to a “proposed rule change that would eliminate the requirement that Title X funding recipients maintain a physical and financial separation of family planning from abortion activities. In addition, the rule change would illegally mandate that Title X recipients counsel and refer for abortion.”
In other words, the rule change “would allow the creation of an accounting gimmick that enable Title X funds to support abortion services,” as NRLC President Carol Tobias explained, plus violate long-standing federal laws intended to protect the right of conscience.
By quoting from the letter, let me elaborate on just two of the many considerations NRLC raised with Secretary Becerra.
#1. “Section 1008 of the Public Health Service Act provides that “[n]one of the funds under this title [Title X] shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Section 1008’s broad prohibition on funding goes further than simply prohibiting Federal expenditures for abortion. This prohibition encompasses both the provision of and promotion of abortion (including referrals) as a method of family planning and requires a complete separation from these activities within the entirety of the program, including physical and financial separation.
“Unfortunately, after Roe v. Wade, this language gradually became a dead letter. For all practical purposes, Title X grantees treated abortion as ‘a method of family planning,” despite the statutory prohibition.”
Beginning with Ronald Reagan and up through Donald Trump, pro-life Presidents restore the original character of Title X. That is what the proposed rules would reverse.
#2. “Specifically, the Proposed Rule would impose an obligation for Title X recipients to ‘[o]ffer pregnant clients the opportunity to be provided information and counseling regarding . . . [p]regnancy termination.’ This counseling and referral mandate violates several provisions of federal law (the Church Amendments, Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the Weldon Amendment) that explicitly forbid discrimination against health care entities that do not refer for abortions.”
It is unconscionable that any administration would obliterate the right of conscience. However, this is what the pro-abortion administration of Biden-Harris intends to do here and doubtless elsewhere in the future.