With Congress mired, states take lead in Planned Par­ent­hood de­fund­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

The ef­fort to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood may be stalled at the fed­eral level, but re­cent le­gal and leg­isla­tive vic­to­ries have given states more power than ever to cut off tax­payer fund­ing to the na­tion’s largest abor­tion provider.

South Carolina be­came just the lat­est state to make de­fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood a top pri­or­ity last week, when Repub­li­can Gov. Henry McMaster is­sued an or­der di­rect­ing state agen­cies to stop fund­ing clin­ics and doc­tors who per­form abor­tions.

With Repub­li­cans in con­trol of 33 gov­er­nor’s man­sions and 32 state leg­is­la­tures, Cather­ine Glenn Foster, pres­i­dent and CEO of Amer­i­cans United for Life, said there are “plenty of dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties and av­enues” when it comes to de­fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood.

“There are def­i­nitely a lot of peo­ple I think who are dis­ap­pointed, even frus­trated with the way things are go­ing,” Ms. Foster said. “That said, I think there’s still a lot of hope. There’s been talk about dif­fer­ent av­enues to pur­sue with de­fund­ing. We know that there are a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties and op­tions out there to de­fund.”

The flood­gates for pro-life leg­is­la­tion opened up ear­lier this year, when Congress over­turned an Obama-era reg­u­la­tion that pro­hib­ited states from con­sid­er­ing whether clin­ics per­form abor­tions in the al­lo­ca­tion of Ti­tle X dol­lars, which are ear­marked for fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices.

The pro-life cause gained an­other vic­tory ear­lier this month, when the 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ruled that Arkansas was al­lowed to ex­clude Planned Par­ent­hood from Med­i­caid fund­ing.

Just a few days later, Mr. McMaster di­rected fed­eral agen­cies in South Carolina not to fund abor­tion providers in the state “via grant, con­tract, state-ad­min­is­tered funds, or any other form.” At least 15 other states are con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion that would take Planned Par­ent­hood off of the tax­payer dole.

Holly Gatling, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of South Carolina Cit­i­zens for Life, said the ef­fort to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood is both a state and fed­eral one.

“States can do this,” Ms. Gatling said. “Obama put an or­der in that pre­vented states from with­hold­ing fed­eral fund­ing from Planned Par­ent­hood. Our hands were tied, the hands of the states were tied. But now that’s been re­scinded. Now this is a state and fed­eral push to keep govern­ment fund­ing out of the abor­tion busi­ness.”

Planned Par­ent­hood re­ceives more than $500 mil­lion in an­nual tax­payer fund­ing.

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