WASHINGTON - Title X funds that are used to assist low-income Americans with family planning methods and services are being co-mingled with funds that supplement abortion services - and that needs to stop, a letter from 153 Congress members to the Secretary of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.
Six Republican congressmen from Illinois and one Democrat signed onto the letter: Republicans Randy Hultgren, John Shimkus, Mike Bost, Peter Roskam, Darin LaHood, Rodney Davis and Democrat Dan Lipinski. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) was the only Republican that did not sign the letter. (Available here)
Regulations for the Title X governance now require all funding recipients to refer their clients for abortion - something that prevents pro-life organizations from applying for taxpayer funded grants.
"This mandate has deterred program applicants who do not consider abortion to be a method of family planning," the letter said. "It also runs counter to the program's statutory prohibition on funding programs "where abortion is a method of family planning."
The Congress members' letter calls on Secretary Alex Azar to determine new Title X regulations that remove abortions referrals from the program. In the past two years, $170 million tax dollars have been designated for the Title X program.
Just as the congress members' letter reached Secretary Azar, news broke that Planned Parenthood is filing a lawsuit to stop any federal taxpayer funds from being directed elsewhere.
Under current law, federal funding for abortion is illegal in most situations. However, states such as Illinois have bypassed federal law and are now funding abortions with state tax dollars for low-income women and state employees. Planned Parenthood is now opening more clinics in Illinois.
At the same time, abortion clinics are being closed down is states where taxpayer funds are being cut off. The Planned Parenthood lawsuit is focused on three states that have banned taxpayer funding of abortions: Utah, Ohio and Wisconsin.
To not fund abortions for low-income women is "disrespectful," one abortion rights group said, and it pushes onto patients a "narrow," ideological vision" of how people should live.
Clare Coleman, president & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, in a statement to NPR called the Trump administration's approach "disrespectful" to low-income patients and said it undermines Title X "by shifting to a narrow, ideological vision of how people should live their lives: no sex until marriage; family participation at all ages; and natural family planning methods first and foremost."
Illinois Review will post Congressman Kinzinger's lack of support for the effort as soon as we hear back.