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By Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews, May 1, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — President Donald Trump is currently considering whether to cut Planned Parenthood out of the Title X family planning program, according to a new report.
A March 2018 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed Planned Parenthood received $57.3 million in 2015 through Title X, and $171 million from 2013 to 2015.
On Friday, senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway presented the president with a case for disqualifying any provider that performs or refers abortions from receiving Title X funds, Axios reports. The new rules would mandate complete physical as well as financial separation between subsidized Title X services and privately-funded abortion activities.
Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood and taken some steps to do so, though Congress has failed to follow suit. He signed a $1.3 trillion budget omnibus in March that continued Planned Parenthood’s funding, claiming that the need to fund the military gave him no choice and promising he would “never sign another bill like this again.”
If Trump agrees with the new plan, the Title X funds would be redirected to Women’s Qualified Health Centers that are not involved in abortions. Conway reportedly presented Trump with maps created by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute showing that such facilities dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations in every state, and outnumber the abortion giant by a factor of twenty nationwide.
According to Axios’ sources, Conway also highlighted the third annual National Day of Prayer and Protest Against Planned Parenthood that occurred this weekend, during which pro-lifers at more than 140 Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide demanded that the president defund the abortion giant. She further noted the more than $38 million Planned Parenthood spent in recent elections to defeat him and and elect Democrats.
Conway is not the only one urging Trump to take action. White House Political Director Bill Stepien gave him a list showing that every incumbent Republican in this fall’s sixty-four most competitive House of Representatives races is pro-life, reinforcing the importance of satisfying the pro-life base.
It would be “political suicide” for Trump to neglect his campaign promise, an unnamed conservative leader told Axios. “I just don’t understand why they would betray a core campaign promise during a midterm election year where there are a lot of key House and Senate races where this is a winning issue in light of the polling.”
According to a January 2018 Marist Institute poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, 60% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 56% of self-described independents.
On top of Conway’s appeal, a coalition of pro-life groups and lawmakers sent letters to Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for the rule change. The letter from pro-life groups was signed by the leaders of more than 85 state and national pro-life groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Students for Life of America, Heritage Action, and more.
41 senators and 153 House members signed letters as well, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, and Roger Wicker; and Reps. Diane Black, Chris Smith, Marsha Blackburn, Steve King, and Jim Jordan.
“The pro-life grassroots are furious with the inability of the Republican-controlled Congress to stop taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a press release. But a “win like this would immediately disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business and energize the grassroots as we head into the critical midterm elections.”
“Abortionists should not be permitted to double bill American taxpayers by setting up a storefront and charging for everything from so-called ‘education’ to any other product they can invoice,” Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins added. “Nobody manipulates taxpayers quite like Planned Parenthood, which has figured out a way to get paid for everything from bad advice to underwriting a business enterprise that profits from abortion.”
Approximately 75% of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from Medicaid rather than Title X, and would not be affected by the change, but the potential cut was significant enough for Planned Parenthood executive Dawn Laguens to decry the “dangerous” proposal as a “domestic gag rule.”
Planned Parenthood says its locations represent 13 percent of Title X facilities and serve 40 percent of Title X patients. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million from taxpayers annually; the Title X program’s overall annual budget is around $286 million.
Federal law forbids taxpayer dollars from being directly spent on abortions, but pro-lifers warn that when abortionists receive money for other purposes, it indirectly supports abortion by enabling them to spend more revenue from other sources on abortions. Duke University healthcare analyst Chris Conover has estimated that taxpayers cover almost 25% of all abortion costs.