WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The public comment period is drawing to a close for President Donald Trump’s regulation to cut Planned Parenthood out of the Title X family planning program, and pro-life advocates are working to ensure the government hears from as many pro-lifers as possible.
Trump first announced in May that the rule would require facilities performing Title X services to be physically separate from those that perform or refer for abortions. Originally proposed by senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, it seeks to address the loophole in current Title X rules, which allows family planning and abortions activities to “co-locate” in the same center, as long as the abortions are privately funded.
The plan would redirect the money to Women's Qualified Health Centers that dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations across the country, potentially eliminating more than $50 million of Planned Parenthood’s overall taxpayer funding of more than $500 million.
Administrative changes to federal regulations of this nature require a public comment period before taking effect, and the period for this rule closes on July 31, both to express support or disapproval of proposals and to solicit input on possible improvements. Pro-life groups enthusiastically support the rule, and several are taking steps to help pro-lifers submit their own words of support.
“By broadening healthcare options and enhance health outcomes for women; by protecting the vulnerable including the unborn, minor children and victims of abuse; and by preventing American tax dollars from propping up the abortion industry, the proposed new rule promises to align the Title X program with the original intent of Congress and with the values of the American people,” Christian Medical Association (CMA) vice president for government regulations Jonathan Imbody said in a memo shared with LifeSiteNews.
“Implementing the valuable and strong reforms in the proposed rule related to Title X requirements is an important step in closing the door to past abuses and opening the door to new and more effective Title X partnerships,” he continued.
Imbody suggests that grant applicants also be required to “provide all relevant organizational documents, such as personnel manuals, client guidelines and protocols to demonstrate that the organization has a pervasive policy framework and organizational culture consistent with the law and rule”; and that administrators consider “[u]nannounced on-site visits and other enforcement measures […] to verify separation of Title X program operations from abortion operations.”
CMA’s Freedom2Care provides a page where pro-lifers can fill out a form to easily submit a comment, complete with sample language. Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) offers a similar page, and those who wish to comment in their own words can do so directly on the Federal Register’s website.
“We know that Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby are desperately trying to stop President Trump’s Protect Life rule, doing everything they can to flood HHS with negative comments,” SBA List says in an email to supporters. “That’s why your voice is so important right now. It is so important that we stand behind our pro-life President and submit a tidal wave of comments in support of his new Protect Life rule.”
As for the rest of Planned Parenthood’s money, Congress tried and failed to do so through Obamacare repeal legislation last year, while standalone defunding bills have yet to receive action. Pro-lifers were disappointed in March when Trump reluctantly signed a budget that continued to support the abortion giant. The president told pro-lifers in May that electing a larger pro-life majority was the key to delivering more pro-life results.