The Obama administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would block states from defunding Planned Parenthood by denying the nation’s largest abortion provider Title X funds.
Title X is a federal grant program that provides funds for family planning and related preventive health services. Some states have chosen not to grant these funds to Planned Parenthood.
However, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would prevent states from restricting the ability of “specific types of providers” to receive Title X funds “based on reasons unrelated to their ability to provide required services in an effective manner.”
In an interview with TheBlaze on Thursday, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), slammed the proposed rule, arguing that it would strip states of their ability to decide where their funds are best spent.
“The Department of Health and Human Services will strip us of our ability to be able to take the dollars that come from Title X family planning at the state level to fund where the state believes that the dollars would best be used,” Black said. “And to say now that Planned Parenthood would be one of those, because we would be prohibited from making that decision.”
“After all, these are taxpayer dollars,” Black continued. “These are dollars that are sent from our state to the federal government before they turn around and send them back, we should have some say in how those dollars are spent in our states. And we in our states know better than the federal government does about who in our state can provide the most comprehensive health care.”
Black called the proposed rule another example of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect Planned Parenthood and to circumvent Congress.
“They seem to take advantage of anything they can do by executive fiat rather than coming through Congress to do it and have a conversation with us,” Black said. “This administration has an unholy alliance with the big abortion industry, and over and over again, they do what they can to protect them, and this is just one more step before they leave office.”
Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards praised the Obama administration’s proposed rule in a recent statement, calling it an action that “will make a real difference in so many people’s lives.”
“The Obama Administration is protecting access to health care for millions of people,” Richards said. “Women in nearly half the states in this country have faced political attacks on cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic care. This rule makes it clear that politicians cannot ignore the law as they pursue their agenda to stop women from getting the care they need.”
“Every person deserves access to quality, affordable health care from a provider they know and trust,” Richards continued. “Thanks to the Obama administration, women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy.”
Black, who worked as a nurse prior to her time in Congress, said that in Tennessee, federally qualified community health centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics. She argued that although Planned Parenthood has tried to portray itself as the only provider of women’s health services for low-income women, federally qualified health centers provide “more comprehensive care than what Planned Parenthood does.”
“She sees that the American people are waking up to know what Planned Parenthood is really about,” Black said of Richards’ support of the proposed rule.
Black said she is drafting a letter alongside Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) expressing their concerns over the rule to HHS.
“We will be pushing back on the administration and we hope to get a lot of cosigners on that letter,” Black said.
She also expressed optimism that “the pro-life community will join us in this effort.”
Black, a member of the Select Panel on Infant Lives — which is investigating allegations that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics sold aborted fetal body parts for profit — said that the panel has uncovered “practices in those clinics that are, I believe, unlawful, certainly unethical.”
Planned Parenthood has denied illegal conduct.
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