Congress Repeals Regulation Allowing States To Restrict Federal Funding To Any Family Services Organization If They Perform Abortions
On December 19 2016, the U.S. Department Of Health and Human Services issued a rule that “amends eligibility requirements to require that no recipient making subawards for the provision of services as part of its Title X project may prohibit an entity from participating for reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services.”
Federal funds are already prohibited from being used for abortions or abortion related services under the Hyde amendment, first passed in 1976. This regulation would allow funding to continue to flow towards organizations that perform abortions, but it would not allow these organizations to use this specific funding for abortions (funding streams would need to be separated).
On Thursday March 30 congress voted to repeal this regulation, effectively allowing states to deny funding to any family planning organization that provides abortions, regardless of whether or not those funds specifically go to abortions.
“The regulation doesn’t name Planned Parenthood, but it was clear the rule was written with the organization in mind. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly threatened to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood because the family planning group performs abortions at some clinics.”
In other words, some states were restricting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations primarily because they perform abortions and not because of their ability to provide family planning services in general. This rule prohibits this sort of discrimination.
Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million a year from the federal government, which is around 40% of their total revenue. Planned Parenthood provides a variety of health services to low income individuals and families, and “The overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood’s services involve screening for and treating sexually transmitted diseases and infections, as well as providing contraception“. Only around 3% of total services provided are abortion related, and only around 12% of patients receive abortions.
President Trump signed the resolution Thursday April 13 2017.