In the House Energy and Commerce Committee, members discussed the $50 million in additional funding of the Title X family planning program. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) introduced an amendment redirecting the funding to youth suicide prevention, as the Title X funds could go to abortion providers.
The Trump administration in 2019 required Title X grant recipients to neither refer for abortions, nor be co-located with abortion facilities. This resulted in Planned Parenthood withdrawing from the program and forfeiting an estimated $60 million in annual funds, rather than comply with the new mandates.
President Biden has already begun the process of reversing that rule, and some Republicans on the committee thus did not want additional funding of Title X if abortion providers would benefit from the program.
“We know that Title X has been used to fund abortion providers,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) stated.
However, committee Democrats accused Republicans of being anti-contraception and hurting women’s health.
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Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) defended the access of abortion providers—such as Planned Parenthood—to the Title X program. “For many women, the only doctor they see in a year is someone who works at Planned Parenthood or at another clinic that gets Title X funds,” she said on Thursday.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), a Chaldean Catholic, also opposed the pro-life requirements for the Title X program and said it is about family planning, not abortion.
Eshoo said she often asks new committee members about their families. “I don’t know one member of our committee that has 8, 10, 12, 14 children,” she said. “This isn’t about abortion. This is about family planning.”