WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), James Lankford (Okla.), and Steve Daines (Mont.) led 37 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, urging the agency to restore Title X Family Planning regulations that bar grantees from co-locating with abortion clinics, or from promoting, counseling, or referring clients for abortions.
“Section 1008 of the Public Health Service Act clearly states that no federal funds appropriated for Title X for family-planning services ‘shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.’ However, the program’s current regulations (42 CFR 59) undermine the law,” the Senators wrote. “We ask that you restore the regulations issued on February 2, 1988 (53 FR 2922), which clarified that Title X programs may not promote, counsel, or refer clients for abortion or co-locate or combine family planning services with abortion activities.”
The Senators continued, “We applaud the states that have acted on Congress’ 2017 legislation overturning an Obama-era Title X rule (P.L. 115-23) by redirecting these funds from abortion entities like Planned Parenthood towards community health centers that provide more comprehensive health services for women, but not abortion. Nevertheless, we urge the administration to do more. ... These new regulations should ensure program integrity by requiring a robust and complete separation of abortion activities from federally funded family planning activities. Any programs failing to achieve this standard should not receive federal funding.”
The full text of the letter is available here.
U.S. Representatives Ron Estes (Kan.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Chris Smith (N.J.), and Diane Black (Tenn.) led a similar companion letter with 149 of their colleagues in the House.