Today, President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that overturns former-president Barack Obama’s final favor to his friends at Planned Parenthood. At the end of his anti-Life presidency, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new federal regulations attempting to thwart Pro-Life states from defunding Planned Parenthood. The rules concerned Title X Programs, a federal initiative to fund family planning services and preventative care for low-income women. The rules imposed by the Obama administration blocked states from denying abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funding.
In February, the United States House of Representatives voted to overturn Obama’s anti-Life rule with the decisive passage of H.J. Res. 43. The Pro-Life bill then moved to the Senate, where moderate Republicans sided with the anti-Life lobby and the vote stood at 50-50. In an historic moment, Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to pass the bill.
In recent years, Texas and several other Pro-Life states have taken steps to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other organizations that commit abortions from receiving Title X funds and taxpayer dollars from other funding streams. Texas legislators redirected millions of dollars from the abortion industry in 2011 to life-affirming initiatives and put in place Pro-Life rules on multiple family planning programs, including the Title X program. This session, the House version of the proposed biennial budget for the state of Texas includes a much-needed budget-wide Pro-Life rider prohibiting abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving state funding. Until now the state of Texas has been playing a big game of whack-a-mole with Planned Parenthood, excluding the abortion business from one state program only to find yet another stream of taxpayer funding in another. The budget-wide rider at last ensures that Pro-Life taxpayers are protected from sending fungible tax dollars to abortion businesses in Texas, whether through Title X funding or other means.
The passage of H.J. Res. 43 in the United States Congress is an important step forward for the Pro-Life movement. President Trump’s action today in signing into law H.J. Res. 43 is a strong indication of his administration’s support for Pro-Life advances like those in the Texas budget. Vice-President Pence’s tie-breaking vote in favor of overturning an anti-Life rule from the previous administration and President Trump’s timely signing of the bill show their commitment to Pro-Life campaign promises. Texas Right to Life hopes that today’s action is the first of many to ensure that Planned Parenthood and other abortion business no longer receive fungible tax dollars at the state or federal level.