Title X’s and No’s

By Tony Perkins, May 10, 2018

Why bother with elections at all? If Democrats get their way, America will be run entirely by the courts. Like a kid running to mom when dad says no, liberals insist on taking the president to court for policies that are entirely his prerogative to set. Like the world’s worst re-run, we’ve seen this strategy play out over and over again — from military and immigration policy to HHS funding rules and school privacy. At some point, someone needs to remind the Left that voters set a new direction for the country in November 2016.

America isn’t an oligarchy — but you wouldn’t know it by the number of lawsuits the Left has brought. Liberals have tried to sue their way to victory on abortion, transgenders in the military, and everything in between. And as usual, activist courts are more than happy to help. This week, two more federal judges tried to deny HHS the power it was granted at the ballot box by ordering the administration to hand over taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood for sex-ed programs that don’t work!

Despite the government’s own data that these grants are ineffective at best (and harmful at worst), District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that HHS’s decision to cut $5 million in funding from a Baltimore program was “arbitrary and capricious.” What’s arbitrary about a conservative administration funneling money to a more conservative approach? No organization, least of all Planned Parenthood, has a “right” to government funds. They have to earn it — something their evaluations agree they haven’t done. Even without the piles of research rejecting Obama’s approach, turning teen pregnancy programs over to groups that profit from ending those pregnancies isn’t exactly the smartest idea our government has ever had.

Still, Judge Blake and another federal court are demanding that President Trump reinstate programs that are in his power to defund. “Continuing the program in its current state does a disservice to the youth it serves and to the taxpayers who fund it,” HHS argued. “Communities deserve better, and we are considering our next steps.”

Of course, the greatest irony of all is that the Left is outraged for losing what is actually a very small piece of the sex-ed funding pie. Even now, with a major boost from the president, abstinence education barely gets ten cents of every sex-ed dollar the government spends. And yet, these activists are determined to snatch away every penny of money from programs that challenge their flawed and costly ideology. As always, Trump’s opponents would rather pay for more failure than admit that the conservative curriculum works.

In Congress, a group of Democrats is taking a more civil approach to Trump’s policies, writing a letter of protest to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. In particular, they object to the president’s plans to move forward with what they call a “domestic gag rule.” In reality, it’s just a regulation that says groups who get Title X “family planning” money can’t promote or refer for abortion. Led by Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the liberals argue:

Reinstating the domestic gag rule is nothing more than an opportunity for President Trump to fulfill his pledge to ‘defund Planned Parenthood,’ whose health centers serve 40 percent of Title X patients and remain an essential part of the family planning safety net… Additionally, other providers of Title X-funded care would face immense challenges in attempting to absorb the patients that would lose access to care through Planned Parenthood.

Well, guess what, House conservatives wrote in a dueling letter? Abortion isn’t family planning! Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who joined more than 150 colleagues and 41 senators in urging HHS to move forward with the rule, understands what the Left is driving at: protecting America’s biggest abortion business. “For far too long, the Title X program has been a slush fund for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood dismembers or chemically poisons a baby to death every two minutes — killing over 7 million innocent children since 1973. I hope that the administration will finally turn off this funding stream for Planned Parenthood — ‘Child Abuse Incorporated.'”

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) couldn’t agree more. “The integrity of taxpayer dollars should never be in question, let alone specified funding for Title X Family Planning Program recipients. Once again… federal funds are being funneled to abortion service sites when the majority of Americans are opposed to this industry. It is my hope that Secretary Azar will review and update these regulations to stop funding for programs, like Planned Parenthood, that disgustingly dub abortion ‘family planning.'”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.