Pro-Life Activists Warn HHS Title X Rule Could Force “Religious Providers” Out of Program

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Just as Trump-era Health and Human Services policy forced Planned Parenthood to pull out of the Title X program over restrictions on abortion providers, pro-life family planning providers may soon be forced out of the program over Biden-era rules which would force them to provide referrals for abortion.

On Monday, the conservative think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center held a press conference which broke down the threats that the HHS policy could pose to the conscience of health clinics that oppose abortion, The Christian Post reported.

“The current Title X rules ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t fund programs promoting abortion, but the revised Title X rule compromises healthcare professionals’ freedom of conscience by requiring Title X participants to refer patients for abortion and contraceptives,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Denise Harle, one of the panelists, explained.

The rule revision proposed by President Joe Biden’s HHS “targets everyone who believes abortion is not birth control and imposes a one-size-fits-all method of family planning on the public,” she warned, and that it “would force religious family planning providers out of the program because they can’t in good conscience abide by the government mandates.”

Harle also noted that the changes would funnel business to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

The Title X program, as noted by fellow panelist Valerie Huber, who previously served in the HHS Office of Global Affairs, is “the only federal program dedicated solely to the provision of family planning.”

It was established in 1970 “to assist in the establishment and operation of voluntary family planning projects, which shall offer a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services, including natural family planning methods, infertility services and services for adolescents.”

However, as Huber said, the Biden revision to policy “blurs the line between Title X services and abortion services … and withdraws significant conscience protections.”

The Trump administration imposed policy that required recipients of Title X funding to create significant physical and fiscal separation between abortion provision and other family planning services in order to remain qualified for the program.

As noted by panelist Roger Severino, an EPPC senior fellow, before the 2019 policy change, Planned Parenthood was the leading recipient of Title X funding, but the Trump-era HHS forced them to back out.

“They chose to keep their abortion prioritized over family planning services. If they had agreed to separate their physical and financial operations, [putting] their abortion on one side and Title X family planning services on the other, they could have continued,” he explained.

This, he pointed out, demonstrated that abortion is more important to Planned Parenthood than family planning, contrary to what the abortion chain’s apologists often say about the chain’s priorities.

Biden’s HHS, meanwhile, as Huber described it, “is acknowledging that their referring for abortion is for the preferred purpose of family planning.”

The agency is now “more focused on ideology than on the congressional intent and the statutory provisions or, for that matter, even on implementing authorized family planning services to low-income Americans.”

Meanwhile, as Harle said, while the Trump administration’s impact on Title X allowed family planning providers to flourish, the new HHS rule would “limit options for women by forcing providers who offer natural family planning services out of the program entirely.”

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