August 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – If the federal Title X family-planning program will no longer dispense tax dollars to abortionists, the state of Washington has decided it will forgo the money entirely.
In February, the Trump administration finalized the Protect Life Rule, which will require “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning” and ban “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.”
The rule is projected to cut almost $60 million from the $563.8 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year, provoking multiple lawsuits and leading Planned Parenthood to withdraw from the program rather than comply with the new conditions.
Following the abortion giant’s lead, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it too will withdraw from Title X rather than enforce the new rules, The Hill reported. Washington is also among the states suing to invalidate the rule.
“The State of Washington is gravely disappointed in HHS's deliberate decision to force us and many other longstanding grantees out of the Title X program,” state health officials wrote. “These new rules require our providers to deprive their patients of the information and services they need to make and carry out fully informed decisions about their reproductive health.”
The officials’ letter also complained about HHS rejecting its request to receive the funds without complying, on the condition that it pledge not to dispense the funds until the legal battle is resolved.
“HHS has forced us to terminate our Title X grant and lose vital funds for reproductive health care in our state,” the officials claimed.
In fact, had Washington complied, the Protect Life Rule would have redirected money lost by abortionists to health centers that aren’t involved in abortions, which dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations in every state.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the rule to take effect while the lawsuits are pending, will hear arguments and rule on the merits of the case at a later date. The fate of the Trump rule, and the prospects of a more comprehensive defunding of Planned Parenthood, will be among the most contentious issues of next year’s presidential and congressional elections.