WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - House Republican Bob Dold is attempting to legislatively enshrine Planned Parenthood’s federal funding with an amendment introduced this month that would prohibit the government from denying Title X funds to an organization on the basis that it provides abortions.
The Illinois congressman was flanked by representatives from Planned Parenthood and the Republican Majority for Choice at a recent press conference announcing the introduction of HR 5650, the “Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act.” (Read the bill’s text here.)
The proposed bill claims that it merely “clarifies and reaffirms existing federal law,” which, it purports, already prohibits “discrimination” against abortion-providing organization in the distribution of Title X funds.
Dold said his bill is “critical,” because it “ensures nondiscrimination within the federal Title X family planning program.”
“We should not discriminate against hospitals and organizations that provide access to basic, preventative, and in some cases life-saving services for so many underprivileged women through Title X,” he said.
Paul Linton, Special Counsel with the Illinois-based Thomas More Society and a resident of Congressman Dold’s district, pointed out that the law would “seem unnecessary” if its claim to be merely re-affirming existing law is to be believed.
However, Linton told LifeSiteNews.com, the law actually appears to be going one step further than current federal law by preventing any future president from adopting regulations such as those that existed under the first Bush administration to ensure that Title X funds do not “directly or indirectly underwrite abortion services.”
“The regulations made requirements about having separate physical facilities, separate bookkeeping and other requirements, to separate the abortion related functions of a grantee and the grantee’s Title X project,” Linton commented. “[The law] arguably would prevent any subsequent administration from adopting those same regulations that the Supreme Court upheld.”
The Title X Family Planning Program, established in 1970 to provide grants for “family planning” programs, funnels about a quarter of its annual funds to Planned Parenthood, often through programs administered by state and local governments.
While Planned Parenthood says that none of the money goes towards abortion services, pro-life advocates point out that government funding frees up other financial resources, indirectly bolstering the organization’s booming abortion business.
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Despite the bill’s claim that current law prohibits “discriminating” against abortion providers, Kansas and North Carolina have passed laws prohibiting the allocation of Title X funds to Planned Parenthood. Other states have cut off Planned Parenthood funds that were being drawn from other government programs. Many of those laws have been challenged in court.
The legislation would also present an obstacle to any attempt on the federal level to cut off Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding, such as Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment, which passed the House last February but was killed in the Senate. Dold was one of only seven House Republicans to vote against it.
While Dold’s bill has outraged pro-life Republicans, it has done nothing to endear him to abortion supporters, some of whom dismiss his bill as political posturing.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, told The Hill newspaper that the proposal was an opportunistic attempt on Dold’s part to “parade as a moderate.”
“I think it’s really important to understand that Bob Dold understands that if he is reelected, there is absolutely no chance — none, zero — that this legislation would go anywhere,” she said.
Dold’s current legislation is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled House.