On April 15, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule on the Title X family planning program that would eliminate the Trump Administration’s 2019 Title X Rule, also known as the “Protect Life Rule.” The proposed rule will be open for comment until May 17, 2021.
Click here to make your comments! This is a formal comment to the Biden Administration; they are required to receive these comments from the public.
The Biden Administration’s proposed rule, which follows the Clinton Administration’s Title X Rule with some modifications, revokes crucial components of the Protect Life Rule. Groups may be particularly interested in three key changes:
The Title X Proposed Rule permits the “co-location” of abortion clinics and Title X clinics in the same facility.
Note that the underlying Title X statute (42 U.S.C. 300a-6) prohibits Title X dollars from funding abortion as a method of family planning.
Trump Administration’s Protect Life Rule: Required Title X grantees to maintain financial and physical separation from abortion providers, drawing a bright line between abortion and family planning (See section 59.15).
Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule: Removes this protection, allowing Title X grantees to be “co-located” with abortion providers. Allowing co-location creates an accounting gimmick that enables Title X funds to support abortion. Since money is fungible, providing Title X dollars
to abortion clinics frees up other money to be used for abortion.
Implications: Prior to the Trump Administration’s Protect Life Rule, Title X was a prime funding source for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in America. Planned Parenthood gave up Title X funds rather than comply with the requirements of the Protect Life Rule. According to a 2018 GAO report, Title X funds accounted for nearly 60% of Planned Parenthood expenditures from all agencies reported between 2013 and 2015. This was $170 million from 2013-2015 (or an average of $56 million annually).
The Title X Proposed Rule requires grantees to make abortion referrals.
Trump Administration’s Protect Life Rule: Prohibited abortion referrals. It did allow a health care provider, if asked by a pregnant woman seeking an abortion, to provide a list of comprehensive health service providers (some, but not all of which also provided abortion). (See Section 59.14).
Biden Administration’s Proposed Rule: Requires grantees to offer abortion counseling and referrals to pregnant clients. (See Section 59.5). While the rule’s preamble notes that grantees with conscience objections will not be required to counsel and refer for abortion, this exception is not present in the rule itself. The rule requires all grantees to provide abortion referral and counseling.
Implications: It is a violation of federal law (the Weldon Amendment) for the federal government to discriminate against health care entities that do not refer for abortions.
The Title X Proposed Rule removes requirements that encouraged parental involvement for minors seeking Title X services.
The Trump Administration’s Protect Life Rule required Title X providers to encourage a minor to involve his/her parents or guardian in decisions to seek family planning services. The Biden Administration’s proposed rule removes that requirement. (See Section 59.2).
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