Pro­tect Life Rule for Ti­tle X re­stores fam­ily plan­ning

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Opinion -

adop­tion of new guide­lines, I was proud to see the ad­min­is­tra­tion heed the calls of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans in an­nounc­ing the Pro­tect Life Rule. How­ever in a re­cent ed­i­to­rial (Oct. 26 Ea­gle), for­mer Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary and Kansas Gov. Kath­leen Se­be­lius com­pletely missed the mark in ex­plain­ing what the new rule will ac­tu­ally do.

The Ti­tle X pro­gram was cre­ated in 1970 to pro­vide fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices to low in­come women. Cur­rently, Congress ap­proves roughly $280 mil­lion to pro­vide fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices like ed­u­ca­tion, coun­sel­ing, health screen­ings and health care. For many years, pro-life pro­tec­tions like the Hyde Amend­ment sought to en­sure tax dol­lars, in­clud­ing those ded­i­cated for Ti­tle X funds, would not go to pro­vide abor­tions.

How­ever, Clin­ton-era Ti­tle X reg­u­la­tions have sadly man­dated that all grantees re­fer abor­tions as part of their fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices and cre­ated loop­holes al­low­ing Ti­tle X fund­ing to flow to or­ga­ni­za­tions which pro­vide abor­tions, such as Planned Par­ent­hood.

Un­der th­ese Clin­ton reg­u­la­tions, Planned Par­ent­hood for ex­am­ple has been able to re­ceive an aver­age $56 mil­lion from Ti­tle X tax dol­lars every year, while con­duct­ing 320,000 abor­tions an­nu­ally. The sta­tus quo clearly vi­o­lates the in­tent of the Ti­tle X Fam­ily Plan­ning Pro­gram be­cause abor­tion is not fam­ily plan­ning. Plain and sim­ple.

Thanks to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, we can now turn the page on this sad chap­ter.

The Pro­tect Life Rule man­dates that Ti­tle X money be used to pro­vide le­git­i­mate fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices and re­quires that Ti­tle X grant re­cip­i­ents be phys­i­cally and fi­nan­cially sep­a­rate from fa­cil­i­ties that pro­vide abor­tions, clos­ing for good the loop­hole that has al­lowed or­ga­ni­za­tions like Planned Par­ent­hood to re­ceive Ti­tle X fund­ing for abor­tions.

Th­ese guide­lines are sim­i­lar to those im­ple­mented by the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, which were up­held by the Supreme Court in 1991.

Im­ple­ment­ing the Pro­tect Life Rule will save in­no­cent lives and also in­crease safe­guards for vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault by re­quir­ing Ti­tle X re­cip­i­ents to com­ply with state and lo­cal laws re­gard­ing the re­port­ing of re­lated crimes.

Im­ple­ment­ing the Pro­tect Life Rule will not cut any funds that go to­ward fam­ily plan­ning to sup­port moth­ers and fam­i­lies every day. To sug­gest other­wise is a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated lie.

In con­trast to Se­be­lius’ col­umn, the Pro­tect Life Rule would also have no im­pact on ac­cess to con­tra­cep­tion. While this ar­gu­ment may be ef­fec­tive in stir­ring up pas­sions and votes, facts mat­ter. In fact, the Pro­tect Life Rule re­quires that in or­der to qual­ify for Ti­tle X funds, a grantee must pro­vide a broad range of fam­ily plan­ning meth­ods, which in­cludes con­tra­cep­tives. The dooms­day rhetoric of Se­be­lius and oth­ers doesn’t line up with the facts.

For generations, Kansans have helped lead the pro­life move­ment. Se­be­lius should know this first­hand. In­stead of push­ing old lies and scare tac­tics, our for­mer gov­er­nor should ap­plaud guide­lines which re­turn Ti­tle X tax dol­lars to their in­tended pur­pose of help­ing low in­come women with needed fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices.

Ron Estes, R-Wi­chita, rep­re­sents Kansas' 4th District in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

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