The House of Representatives will take up today, Thursday, a joint resolution that would overturn an Obama-era regulation meant to prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood. House Joint Resolution 43 provides for congressional disapproval on the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with Title X requirements.
The resolution is referring to the amendment on the Title X Family Planning Program, Public Health Service Act introduced by the Obama administration which forbids states from withholding Title X funding for family planning providers. The new rule took effect last Jan. 18.
Described as Obama's gift to Planned Parenthood, the rule change was finalized on Dec. 19 last year in response to withholding of funds by some states for reproductive health services. Proponents are concerned that the defunding will deprive low-income women of such services.
The new rule directs states and local governments to distribute federal Title X funding for services related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and breast and cervical cancer screeners to health providers, including clinics that perform abortions. Pro-lifers opposing the measure have found allies in Congress.
"We should invest in women's health, not abortion. Abortion is not healthcare," Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said during Tuesday's hearing by the House Rules Committee on the resolution's passage, adding, "The federal government should not incentivize the practice by undermining the authority of states."
Obama's controversial rule became a campaign issue, with Republican candidates committing to cut funds for Planned Parenthood. Pressure has increased for them to fulfill that promise now that they have majority control of both Houses of Congress and even the Executive.
"Politicians shouldn't be making decisions about women's health for them, and states shouldn't be either," Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) said, adding, "It's high time we recognize that women can make decisions for themselves. For more than 40 years, men in blue suits have been trying to determine what women can and should do when it comes to their own health."