WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Barack Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) issued a final rule Wednesday designed to thwart state efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
The rule bans withholding federal funds from the abortion giant’s affiliates and other entities that perform abortion for any reason other than the ability to provide Title X “family planning” services, and is scheduled to take effect two days prior to President-elect Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration.
The regulation is in direct response to the effort of more than a dozen states to defund Planned Parenthood, and was set up by HHS to entail a laborious process to undo, the New York Times reports.
First proposed in September, prior to the Trump election victory when the prevailing assumption for many was a Hillary Clinton inauguration in January, the rule was criticized as a political “parting gift” from Obama to the abortion industry in the waning days of his presidency.
Republican Congressman Diane Black from Tennessee sharply criticized the HHS rule as an apparent desperate move on the part of the outgoing Obama Administration in the wake of a changing legislative landscape for the pro-life cause after Trump’s surprise election.
“With this rule, we see an administration that has become unglued at the knowledge of the impending pro-life sea change in Washington, DC.,” Black said. “President Obama knows that hope is rising for the innocent victims of Planned Parenthood’s brutality and the big abortion industry’s days of taxpayer-funded windfalls are numbered. We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this eleventh hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long.”
Black, who is a registered nurse and a member of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives investigating Planned Parenthood's illegal fetal body parts trade, said in a statement the final rule would not be the end of the fight to defund Planned Parenthood.
She referenced incoming HHS secretary nominee Tom Price, who is pro-life, and said pro-life majorities in Congress would be positioned to work with Trump and Price to roll back “this latest overreach.”
“The Obama Administration will not have the last word,” stated Black. “With this new year comes renewed opportunity to fight for the dignity of every unborn child, the wellbeing of every struggling mother, and the conscience rights of every American taxpayer.”
Black and others condemned the rule last September, with more than 100 members of Congress sending on a bipartisan, bicameral letter in its opposition later that month.
The Title X Family Planning Program, or Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs, was enacted in 1970 as part of Public Health Service Act, and is designed to provide grants to health organizations to make “family planning” services such as birth control and sterilization available to low income individuals. Title X is the only federal program focused only on providing “family planning,” which can also include STD, pregnancy and other testing.
In defending the new rule when it was announced in September, the Obama administration claimed that the states’ effort to defund Planned Parenthood had decreased the number of Title X providers from 48 to 36, and also decreased the total number of Title X clients served.
This claim remains in the language of the final rule, set for a December 19 publication and a January 18, 2017 effective date.