Issue Toolkit:

No Title X Money for Abortionists

Background information

The Federal Title X (“Title Ten”) Family Planning Program was established in the Public Health Service Act in 1970 to provide a broad range of voluntary family planning services at reduced or no cost. The text of the Act contains the following stipulation, which has been unchanged for more than 50 years since the Title X program was established: “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” (42 U.S.C. 300a-6)

In 2019, the Trump Administration issued a rule that sought to strengthen compliance with the plain text of the law. Among other things, it required that Title X activities be kept both physically and financially separate from abortion activity. Title X funding recipients shouldn’t conduct Title X activity in one room and perform abortions in the room down the hall. Rather than comply with these terms, Planned Parenthood turned its back and walked away from $60 million in Title X grant funding.

The Trump Administration’s rule also ensured compliance with federal conscience rights law by eliminating a mandate that grantees refer for abortions, opening up applications to additional organizations who previously could not, in good conscience, participate in the program without violating their sincerely-held moral or religious beliefs about unborn human life.

However, the Biden Administration is now seeking to undo the gains made by the previous administration by proposing a new rule to revise Title X.

Proposed Rule

On April 15, 2021, the Biden Administration proposed a rule that would reverse the pro-life protections enacted by the Trump Administration. Specifically, President Biden wants to mandate abortion referrals and remove the wall of separation between Title X activity and abortion-related activity.

Take Action

Pro-life Americans should submit a public comment opposing the newly proposed Title X rule. Comments are due by May 17, 2021, and can be submitted using this link. (Sample comment provided below)

Additional Reading

Here are additional resources from Heritage Foundation experts on Title X programs, how the program has changed, and pro-life concerns:

Tips for an effective comment

  • Write an original, unique comment rather than simply copying and pasting an example.

  • Share a personal story (if you have one) of how you or someone you know has been referred to an abortion provider by a Title X grant recipient or how such a referral would violate your sincerely held personal or religious beliefs.

Sample Comment

I write in opposition to the proposed rule. The rule enacted by the previous administration in 2019 rightly sought to ensure compliance with federal law, namely that no funds appropriated for Title X “shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The current proposed rule ignores both the letter and spirit of this statute and longstanding federal conscience rights law.

The proposed rule reverses the requirement that Title X activity and abortion-related activity be both physically and financially separate. Congress intended for this “wall of separation” to be in place from day one of the Title X program. Abortion is not health care. Abortion is not family planning. Removing a clear, unambiguous wall between Title X family planning activity and abortion-related activity is contrary to the plain intent of the Title X statute.

In addition, the proposed rule mandates that Title X grantees provide abortion referrals. This is a clear violation of the Weldon Amendment, which says the Department of Health and Human Services can’t exclude certain recipients from receiving funding due to their decision to not “provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” By mandating abortion referrals, the Department effectively eliminates the opportunity for pro-life organizations to seek Title X funding to serve their communities.

America has a proud tradition of respecting rights of conscience, and the proposed rule defies this foundational principle. It ignores the clear text of the Title X statute and allows taxpayer dollars to flow to organizations that perform abortions. The 2019 rule rightly ensured compliance with federal law, and the Department should keep that rule in place.

Talking Points

  • Federal dollars have long been prohibited by law from directly funding abortions. By reversing the changes to Title X made by the previous administration, President Biden is choosing to circumvent the will of Congress to provide backdoor handouts to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

  • President Biden has worked to roll back policies from the previous administration that rightfully separated government programs, such as the Title X family planning program and Medicaid, from the abortion industry. The majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars going toward abortions overseas or domestically, and the Administration’s new rule ignores this bipartisan consensus.

  • According to the 2021 Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll, more than ¾ of Americans believe abortion should be significantly restricted. Likewise, a strong majority of Americans (58%) across the political spectrum do not believe that taxpayer dollars should fund domestic abortions.

  • There are roughly 4,000 Title X service sites across the country, the vast majority of which are not Planned Parenthood clinics. Maintaining the 2019 version of the rule does not decrease available funding for the Title X program. If abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood are not willing to physically and financially separate abortion activity from Title X activity, there are many other locations (including federally qualified health centers, community clinics, and public health departments) that can still apply for and receive Title X funding.

Social Posts (remember to insert the social handle of your member)

Tweet This:

.@JoeBiden has done a complete 180 on government funding for abortions. He used to be opposed, but is now pushing a regulatory rule to funnel Title X money to Planned Parenthood.

Tweet This:

Biden isn’t pro-choice, he’s pro-abortion! In a direct attack on religious non-profits, Joe Biden wants to force recipients of Title X grants to violate their conscience and to refer individuals to abortionists. Leave a comment with HHS and oppose this Biden abortion rule:

Tweet This:

58% of Americans think taxpayer money should not fund abortions. But Joe Biden wants to send millions in Title X money to Planned Parenthood so they can fund the clinics where they abort hundreds of thousands of children each year. Leave a comment with HHS and oppose this Biden abortion rule:

Tweet This:

Leave a comment with HHS and oppose Biden’s new rule to funnel money to abortionists: There are roughly 4,000 Title X service sites across the country, the vast majority of which are not Planned Parenthood clinics. They are happy to take Title X money and provide family planning services (which, under Title X, do NOT include abortions). We don’t need this new Biden abortion rule which will send Title X money to abortion providers who won’t separate their abortion activity from their Title X activity.