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Black Testifies on Her Resolution Overturning Obama Admin Rule Forcing States to Fund Planned Parenthood

Feb 15, 2017 Issues: Defunding Planned Parenthood, Pro-Life


To watch video of Rep. Black’s testimony, click HERE or the image above

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, testified today before the House Rules Committee in support of H.J. Res. 43, her resolution to overturn a December 2016 Obama Administration rule forcing states to provide Title X funding to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

Congressman Black’s resolution of disapproval is slated for a vote on the House floor later this week. To watch a video of her testimony, click HERE. A full transcript is provided below:

Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

I’m pleased to testify in support of my resolution, H.J.Res.43, disapproving of the Obama Administration’s December 16th rule thwarting states’ ability to fund the healthcare providers that best suit their needs under the Title X program.

As members of this committee may know, Title X has existed as a federal family planning grant program since 1970, and states have always had the freedom and flexibility to dole out those grants to the providers of their choice.

In my home state of Tennessee, for example, our Title X funding goes exclusively to the Tennessee Department of Health which then determines appropriate sub-grantees. These are made up primarily of county health departments.

We’ve been able to effectively use our share of Title X funding to provide women and families with the care they need, all while asserting our state’s right to steer these taxpayer dollars away from abortion providers in Tennessee. 

Now, under this eleventh hour Obama Administration rule – finalized after President Trump was elected and made enforceable just two days before he took office – Tennessee has lost that right.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: It is not the role of politicians in Washington to usurp states’ 10th Amendment rights and substitute our judgment for that of state and local leaders.

We must return to a point where states are empowered to make their own healthcare decisions – based on the unique needs of their constituency – without fear of reprisal from the federal government.

It’s also worth noting that the Obama Administration’s rule is simply not grounded in fact. This edict was replete with statements that the Administration cannot back up.

For example, the rule stated that health care providers with a focus on reproductive health – for example Planned Parenthood – can “accomplish Title X programmatic objectives more effectively.” This is demonstrably false.

According to Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive services dropped by 18% over the last year. And their total number of services provided dropped by 11% even as their taxpayer funding increased by millions and their abortions continued at over 320,000 a year.

What’s more, the research that the Obama Administration cited in this rule is far from unbiased. 

Consider this:  The finalized HHS rule cites “research” from the Guttmacher Institute nearly half a dozen times throughout its pages. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Guttmacher was formerly an entity housed within Planned Parenthood Federation of America and is even named after a former Planned Parenthood President.

Members of the committee, if an Administration is going to impose sweeping new rules limiting states’ rights, the least they could do is provide proper supporting documentation.

Now, I have heard some of the criticisms of this resolution that exist already, so let me be clear: Passage of my resolution does not defund Planned Parenthood – though I have always been unapologetic about my support for such a measure.

Instead, this resolution simply honors the wishes of states that have taken action to withhold Title X funding from abortion providers and restores the status quo from before December 16, 2016. Further, this resolution does not alter funding levels for the Title X program. And finally, this resolution does not leave women without access to preventive healthcare.

As members of this committee may know, I’ve been a nurse for more than 40 years and have dedicated my career to protecting the health and safety of women, children, and families.

With this resolution, we’re simply allowing states to invest in women’s health over abortion and reallocate Title X dollars to other, more comprehensive providers – for example, community health centers, which outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by a margin of 20 to 1.

I urge the members of this body to stand on the side of the 10th Amendment and move this legislation to the House floor for a vote.

With that, I’ll be happy to answer any questions. 

 

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Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. A nurse for more than 40 years, she serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.