March 31, 2017
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised both chambers of the U.S. Congress for taking action to nullify a bad policy imposed by the Obama Administration. Congress’ joint resolution of disapproval (H.J. Res 43 / S. Res. 13) was passed by the House in mid-February, and by the Senate on March 30, 2017. It overrides a rule change made late in the Obama Administration that prevented states from redirecting Title X family planning funding away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care. The rule change went into effect on January 18, 2017.
“The clear purpose of this Title X rule change was to benefit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” Cardinal Dolan said. “So Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care.”
Title X of the Public Health Services Act was passed by Congress in 1970 to control population growth by distributing contraceptives to low-income families. Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding. Planned Parenthood is also the nation’s largest abortion network — performing over a third of all abortions in the U.S. — and receives more than half a billion taxpayer dollars each year.
Congress acted within the statutory 60-day window to nullify the new regulation. Introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), the House resolution (H.J. Res. 43) was approved on February 16 (230-188); and the Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 13), introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), passed by a one-vote margin on March 30, 2017. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.
The measure now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign the resolution into law.