Commentary

Obama Administration Mandate Would Force States to Fund Planned Parenthood

Lynn Wardle
By Lynn Wardle | December 2, 2016 | 12:40 PM EST

President Obama is introduced by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, before speaking at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference in Washington on April 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In the summer of 2015, a pro-life group (the Center for Medical Progress) released shocking videos that depicted a Planned Parenthood official apparently discussing the sale of fetal organs and body parts of aborted fetuses, and also alluding to modifying abortion procedures in order to preserve fetal organs for sale.

In response to those disturbing disclosures Congress held a public hearing investigating Planned Parenthood and its alleged sale of aborted fetuses and/or fetal parts.

Also, reacting to the profound concerns about apparent ethical and potential legal violations raised by the videos, at least 15 states took steps to bar state funding of Planned Parenthood.

Some federal courts came to the rescue of Planned Parenthood by blocking some of those state laws and policies enacted to de-fund the massive institutional abortion provider.

In September of 2016, the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new administrative rule (which would have the full effect of federal law when/if it becomes a final rule) that appears designed to prevent states from blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds given to the states for family planning services (under Title X).

The proposed new regulation would prevent states from revoking Planned Parenthood funding and redirecting the federal money to other (less-sleazy) comprehensive, qualified health care providers. It bars states from considering Planned Parenthood’s alleged misconduct and alleged violations.

“U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, quickly responded with a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell that outlined their concerns about the proposed regulation. More than 100 pro-life Senators and Representatives cosigned the letter.”

In response they received a “form letter” that did not respond to their concerns. The two lawmakers were disappointed by the brush-off they were given by the Obama administration .

“‘We’ve known all along that the Obama Administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry. After all, this Administration has previously used backdoor maneuvers to line Planned Parenthood’s pockets with Obamacare navigator grants and praised the abortion provider’s ‘high ethical standard’ even after it was caught trafficking in baby body parts,’ Black said.

“‘Now, they have taken the unprecedented step of thwarting states’ rights with a shady proposed rule change that prevents states from funding the providers who will best serve their citizens,’ she continued.”

The proposed federal executive department’s proposed rule raises several serious concerns.  First, it suggests that the abortion industry has tremendous political influence on and within the Obama administration.  

Second, it suggests that the national abortion agency, Planned Parenthood, and the Obama White House are in bed together in promoting not just access to abortion, but to insure that federal funds – taxpayer dollars – will be available for the abortion giant.

Third, it underscores the monetary-motive that drives the abortion industry.  Not only are the pro-abortion players inspired by a corrupt ideology that devalues human life but they also are motivated by the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Fourth, it exemplifies the hubris of the abortion political-industrial complex.  Not satisfied to obliterate all laws that restrict and regulate elective abortion (at least before fetal viability), the abortion industry and its political allies want to force all Americans to pay for elective abortions.

The massive growth of the abortion industry in America since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided, plus the continuous (and ongoing) invalidation of laws protecting human life and lives is not enough for Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians.  They insist on feeding at the public trough.

The current proposal of the Obama Administration to enact regulations to prevent states from de-funding Planned Parenthood, despite video evidence of disconcerting communications concerning the sale of fetal body parts, is a disturbing example of politics at its worst.  The Obama administration should not be adopting new federal regulations to force states to fund its political ally, Planned Parenthood.

Lynn D. Wardle is the Bruce C. Hafen Professor of Law at Brigham Young University.  He is author or editor of numerous books and law review articles mostly about family, biomedical ethics and conflict of laws policy issues. His publications present only his personal (not institutional) views.

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