Thoughts on the President’s Title X Proposal

by Ellen Kolb | May 23rd, 2018

Readability

Thoughts on the President's Title X Proposal

(Adapted from a post I wrote for Leaven for the Loaf.)

The Trump Admin­is­tra­tion has announced a pro­posed Health and Human Ser­vices rule that would pre­vent fed­eral Title X (Ten) fam­ily plan­ning money from going to abor­tion providers. That’s “pro­posed.” It’s a long road from announce­ment to imple­men­ta­tion. Some pro-​lifers are cheer­ing as though it’s a done deal, and abor­tion providers are scream­ing as only peo­ple who’ve been hit in the wal­let can scream.

Take a breath, folks. The pro­posed rule is good news. It would pro­tect tax­pay­ers from involve­ment in the abor­tion indus­try. But the rule is not in place yet, and may never be. The Pres­i­dent has announced a pro­posal. Tip of the ice­berg, you might say. To see what the rest of it looks like, feast your eyes on the rule­mak­ing process as described in the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter.

But, still — this is a start.

The out­raged wails of abor­tion advo­cates are remind­ing me of the sim­i­lar reac­tion to the Supreme Court’s 1991 Rust deci­sion, estab­lish­ing that it’s per­mis­si­ble for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to tell fam­ily plan­ning clin­ics that they can’t use tax­payer funds to per­form, refer for, or coun­sel for abor­tions – since, after all, abor­tion is not fam­ily plan­ning. Then, as now, abor­tion advo­cates called fund­ing restric­tions a “gag rule.” They called fund­ing restric­tions a vio­la­tion of free­dom of speech, instead of what they are: pro­tec­tion of the con­science rights of peo­ple who don’t want to help pay for any aspect of abortion.

(A cou­ple of years after the Rust deci­sion, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton sus­pended the reg­u­la­tions that Rust had okayed – and ever since, abor­tion providers have lined up for Title X funds every bud­get cycle.)

As for indig­nant cries of “gag rule,” the most stri­dent crit­ics of the pro­posed Title X rule are not noted for their defense of First Amend­ment rights of peace­ful pro-​life wit­nesses out­side abor­tion facil­i­ties. They only dis­cov­ered the First Amend­ment when abor­tion providers’ pock­et­books were threatened.

Back in ’91, just after the Rust deci­sion, I got a let­ter from my then-​Congressman claim­ing that the deci­sion was a “dev­as­tat­ing blow” to free speech, on the grounds that agen­cies using Title X funds were being for­bid­den to coun­sel for abor­tions. This was from a man who had for office on a claim that he opposed send­ing tax­payer fund­ing or sub­si­dies for abor­tion. He rec­og­nized when he ran for office that there is a dif­fer­ence between fam­ily plan­ning and abor­tion, and he real­ized that fam­ily plan­ning funds in the hands of abor­tion providers sim­ply free up other funds within the providers’ bud­gets for use in abortions.

Then abor­tion providers started accus­ing my Con­gress­man of oppos­ing free speech. Worked like a charm, since no one wants to be accused of vio­lat­ing the First Amend­ment. He changed his tune.

Today, just as in 1991, it lit­er­ally pays to dis­guise fund­ing as free speech. Hence the revival of the mis­lead­ing term “gag rule.”

The essence of the President’s pro­posed rule is this, which is no dif­fer­ent from the Rea­gan rule that led to the Rust deci­sion: Title X is for fam­ily plan­ning. Abor­tion is not fam­ily plan­ning. Con­gress is within its rights to for­bid abor­tion providers from using a grant for pur­poses unre­lated to the grant’s goals. If you coun­sel for, refer for, or per­form abor­tions, you may do so with­out using fam­ily plan­ning funds.

The response from the abor­tion indus­try is this: I’ll pro­mote what I please; you should pay for that pro­mo­tion; refusal to pay equals censorship.

Providers who do both abor­tions and fam­ily plan­ning could, if they chose, sep­a­rate out the abor­tion busi­ness and do it as a sep­a­rate enter­prise, with sep­a­rate facil­i­ties, equip­ment, fund­ing and staffing. Title X grants for fam­ily plan­ning would then not entan­gle tax­pay­ers in abor­tion in any way. But that’s not the path abor­tion providers want to take.

It’s worth remem­ber­ing that while the President’s pro­posed rule is a pro-​life ini­tia­tive, it has no bear­ing on the right to life. It doesn’t rec­og­nize the per­son­hood or human­ity of any pre­born child. What it does is respect the con­science rights of tax­pay­ers who don’t want to help sub­si­dize abortions.

Even that is more than abor­tion advo­cates can tolerate.

Ellen Kolb is a pro-​life writer and activist in New Hamp­shire. She writes about pro-​life issues at Leaven for the Loaf.

Sup­port inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism today: hit DaTip­Jar for DaT­e­chGuy blog. Thank you!

(Adapted from a post I wrote for Leaven for the Loaf.)

The Trump Administration has announced a proposed Health and Human Services rule that would prevent federal Title X (Ten) family planning money from going to abortion providers. That’s “proposed.” It’s a long road from announcement to implementation. Some pro-lifers are cheering as though it’s a done deal, and abortion providers are screaming as only people who’ve been hit in the wallet can scream.

Take a breath, folks. The proposed rule is good news. It would protect taxpayers from involvement in the abortion industry. But the rule is not in place yet, and may never be. The President has announced a proposal. Tip of the iceberg, you might say. To see what the rest of it looks like, feast your eyes on the rulemaking process as described in the Federal Register.

But, still – this is a start.

The outraged wails of abortion advocates are reminding me of the similar reaction to the Supreme Court’s 1991 Rust decision, establishing that it’s permissible for the federal government to tell family planning clinics that they can’t use taxpayer funds to perform, refer for, or counsel for abortions – since, after all, abortion is not family planning. Then, as now, abortion advocates called funding restrictions a “gag rule.” They called funding restrictions a violation of freedom of speech, instead of what they are: protection of the conscience rights of people who don’t want to help pay for any aspect of abortion.

(A couple of years after the Rust decision, President Clinton suspended the regulations that Rust had okayed – and ever since, abortion providers have lined up for Title X funds every budget cycle.)

As for indignant cries of “gag rule,” the most strident critics of the proposed Title X rule are not noted for their defense of First Amendment rights of peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities. They only discovered the First Amendment when abortion providers’ pocketbooks were threatened.

Back in ’91, just after the Rust decision, I got a letter from my then-Congressman claiming that the decision was a “devastating blow” to free speech, on the grounds that agencies using Title X funds were being forbidden to counsel for abortions. This was from a man who had for office on a claim that he opposed sending taxpayer funding or subsidies for abortion. He recognized when he ran for office that there is a difference between family planning and abortion, and he realized that family planning funds in the hands of abortion providers simply free up other funds within the providers’ budgets for use in abortions.

Then abortion providers started accusing my Congressman of opposing free speech. Worked like a charm, since no one wants to be accused of violating the First Amendment. He changed his tune.

Today, just as in 1991, it literally pays to disguise funding as free speech. Hence the revival of the misleading term “gag rule.”

The essence of the President’s proposed rule is this, which is no different from the Reagan rule that led to the Rust decision: Title X is for family planning. Abortion is not family planning. Congress is within its rights to forbid abortion providers from using a grant for purposes unrelated to the grant’s goals. If you counsel for, refer for, or perform abortions, you may do so without using family planning funds.

The response from the abortion industry is this: I’ll promote what I please; you should pay for that promotion; refusal to pay equals censorship.

Providers who do both abortions and family planning could, if they chose, separate out the abortion business and do it as a separate enterprise, with separate facilities, equipment, funding and staffing. Title X grants for family planning would then not entangle taxpayers in abortion in any way. But that’s not the path abortion providers want to take.

It’s worth remembering that while the President’s proposed rule is a pro-life initiative, it has no bearing on the right to life. It doesn’t recognize the personhood or humanity of any preborn child. What it does is respect the conscience rights of taxpayers who don’t want to help subsidize abortions.

Even that is more than abortion advocates can tolerate.

Ellen Kolb is a pro-life writer and activist in New Hampshire. She writes about pro-life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. 

Support independent journalism today: hit DaTipJar for DaTechGuy blog. Thank you!

Buy My Book!

Buy My Book!

Hit DaTipJar and Support Conservative Journalism & Opinion




Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,146 other subscribers

DH Gate Dot Com, Online Shopping

Cheap ecigarette from China - DHgate

Best Grassroots Blogs

Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Catholic CD of the Month

Know your Catholic Faith

Da Pages

Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Donald Trump Calls on DaTechGuy Worcester MA

 
%d bloggers like this: