The Obama administration is trying to circumvent federal law with a new rule that purports to be for women's health, but it would only ensure that tax money continues to be handed over to the abortionists at Planned Parenthood, according to a comment submitted on the plan.
The non-profit Great Lakes Justice Center this week submitted its comment to the federal government on the proposal that states be required to turn over Title X public health program money to abortionists.
WND reported last week the issue was drawing attention because the Obama administration was attempting a "Hail Mary" stunt to ensure Planned Parenthood abortionists get huge amounts of federal funding in the future, even though states have better plans to address women's health.
"The proposed rule is a parting gift from the Obama administration to Planned Parenthood, at the expense of women's health," said Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
"Even though many more publicly funded healthcare centers exist than Planned Parenthood facilities and similar abortion-driven businesses, this rule denies states their right to prioritize funding for more comprehensive, preventive health care clinics on the false assumption that Planned Parenthood is superior simply because it focuses on dispensing birth control," he said.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services is working on a new rule that would impact how states allocate federal health-care funds.
The new rule would ban state and local public health officials, who get most of the Title X grant money from the federal government, from sending the bulk of the money for family planning programs to public health agencies, such as federally qualified health centers and rural health centers.
To receive funds, they would have to show they can dispense birth control better than Planned Parenthood.
That's because the Obama administration wants the federal money to go to Planned Parenthood's abortionists.
The Great Lakes Justice Center now has joined the conversation, blasting the idea that a federal rule should be created to allocate money to Planned Parenthood, overturning the work from at least 13 states where lawmakers already have adopted plans to use the money for the best available public health care – not necessarily Planned Parenthood.
"The Obama administration wrongly claims that requiring Title X funding to be forwarded to abortion clinics is needed to promote health and safety for women. Of course, no state has any obligation to fund abortions, yet the federal government, in another act of governmental overreach, wishes to force the states to indirectly do so," the group said.
The group said Title X resources "are successfully used by and widely available at community health centers, hospitals, and other federally qualified medical facilities that would make better and safer use of the funding than Planned Parenthood; and the Obama administration’s proposed rule relies on faulty data that inflates the importance of abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, in the Title X funding scheme."
"Many of the services that Planned Parenthood claims to perform, such as mammograms, simply do not happen at Planned Parenthood clinics."
The center argues that Title X, as passed by Congress, "explicitly allows states to withhold or deny funds to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics."
"The Title X program was not designed as a federal subsidy earmarked for Planned Parenthood, but expects that the funds be directed to 'a diverse range of provider agencies.' In practice, a study, cited in the proposed rule, states that in 2010, the country had 8,400 publicly funded clinics, yet only 4,100 of those clinic received Title X funding to provide contraceptive services. Another study, also by the Guttmacher Institute, states that Title X only accounts for 10 percent of family planning appropriations, while Medicaid accounts for 75 percent. Among the total number of Title X funded clinics, the Guttmacher Institute stated that Planned Parenthood made up only about 13 percent of the total available clinics. 53 percent were public health departments, 14 percent of clinics were federally qualified health centers, 5 percent were hospitals, and 15 percent were other independent family planning organizations.
"No evidence is provided that additional Title X funding directed to these additional federally qualified centers would reduce the availability of the drugs, devices, and services provided by Title X. Indeed, with additional funding, these centers could increase their extended and weekend hours, hire additional staff, and have additional resources to make Title X resources more available to the public."
Further, it said: "States have the right to withhold Title X funding from Planned Parenthood for two reasons. First, Title X gives states, as pass through entities, the right to withhold or deny funds to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. ... The proposed rule addresses Title X funds that go directly to the states and seeks to curtail the states' discretion to forward the Title X funds. The federal agencies, however, should exercise restraint and deference to the states in this regard. Additionally, the federal government cannot force states to enact federal policy or bear substantial economic consequences for not doing so. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 132 S.Ct. 2566 (2012). By the agencies' own numbers, withholding Title X funding from the states would result in huge governmental expenditures.
"Second, states bear no obligation to fund abortion, and federal Title X funds cannot be used to cover the cost of abortion. See, e.g., Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980); United States v. Zbaraz, 448 U.S. 358 (1980). The proposed rule seeks to force the states to funnel Title X monies to the nation's largest abortion provider, with no authority or basis to do so."
ADF was joined by the Susan B. Anthony List and the Charlotte Lozier Institute in its comments earlier.
They said: "The proposed rule responds to HHS's perception that 'a number of states have taken actions to restrict participation by certain types of providers as subrecipients in the Title X Program, unrelated to the provider's ability to provide the services required under Title X.'
"HHS contends this has led to disruption or reduction of services. 'In several instances,' HHS claims, 'these restrictions have interfered with the 'capacity to make rapid and effective' use of [federal funds].'"
The programs set up by states use a "tiered approach" in which "public and primary/prevention care providers are preferred in the distribution of Title X funds."
But the Obama administration is infuriated that the programs exclude "providers" who specialize in abortion.
The states' prioritization systems "have been approved by federal courts for decades," the groups explain.
"HHS's proposed rule 'rigs the game' against states that desire to utilize Title X funding to increase primary and preventive health care for women by claiming that such policies 'limit access to high quality family planning services by restricting specific types of providers from participating,'" the groups explain.
"HHS's proposed rule trammels upon an area traditionally left to the states – state health care policy – and truncates the important task states play in creating innovative and effective new structures for delivery of healthcare services."