WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama administration is advancing a controversial new federal regulation that would bar states from defunding Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers, announcing the proposed guideline the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend.
The HHS rule would bar states from denying Planned Parenthood millions of dollars in Title X family planning funds based on any criteria “unrelated to the provider's ability to provide the services required.”
“Since 2011, 13 states have placed restrictions on or eliminated sub-awards with specific types of providers,” the HHS wrote. “In at least several instances, this has led to disruption of services or reduction of services.”
If adopted, the rule would formally codify the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law, which is hotly contested by state officials and pro-life advocates alike. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to states in April that providing abortion-on-demand “neither disqualifies a provider from participating in the Medicaid program, nor is the provision of such services inconsistent with the best interests of the beneficiary.”
Pro-life Congressional leaders said the move was yet another example of the Barack Obama using the full resources of the federal government to benefit Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, at taxpayers’ expense.
“We’ve known all along that the Obama administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry,” said Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN. “After all, this administration has previously used backdoor maneuvers to line Planned Parenthood’s pockets with ObamaCare navigator grants and praised the abortion provider’s ‘high ethical standard’ even after it was caught trafficking in baby body parts. Now, they have taken the unprecedented step of thwarting states’ rights with a shady proposed rule change that prevents states from funding the providers who will best serve their citizens.”
In the past, the Obama administration sidestepped state laws to directly fund Planned Parenthood in Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Hampshire in defiance of state laws defunding the abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood, which performed 323,999 abortions, received $553.7 million from U.S. taxpayers during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, according to its most recent annual report.
Despite the funding, auditors in Wisconsin found that at least half of the family planning funds Planned Parenthood received were fraudulent.
“We must use the full force of Congress and the grassroots strength of the national pro-life movement to defeat this absurd rule and prevent the Obama administration from acting unilaterally to carry out political favors and prop up a scandal-ridden abortion provider,” said Rep. Black.
Senator James Lankford’s office did not reply to LifeSiteNews’ request for comment by press time.