Rep. Mark Green to Introduce Bill Combatting ‘HHS Weaponization’ of Title X
This week, Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) will introduce a bill designed to ensure that states are free to enact pro-life legislation without fear of retribution from the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is threatening to withhold Title X funding from states that have passed legislation protecting unborn children in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
The federal Title X Family Planning Program was instituted in 1970 and provides family planning and related preventive health care services to low-income families across the U.S. Since its inception, Title X funds were prohibited from going to entities that carry out abortion. But in 2021, the Biden administration instituted a Title X rule requiring abortion referrals upon client request. In March of 2023, HHS informed Tennessee that it was “out of compliance” with this regulation due to the state passing legislation protecting unborn babies, and would therefore withhold Title X funding from the state.
In a June 20 letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Green argued that Tennessee “is operating well within its constitutional and legal bounds. In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which justly ruled that abortion is not a constitutional right, Tennessee passed an abortion ban and required healthcare providers to only share information ‘regarding all options that are legal in the State of Tennessee.’ Not only does the 2021 HHS rule violate Congressional intent in Title X, but it also does not reflect the Dobbs decision and the latitude of states to protect life.”
In response to the Biden administration’s threat to withhold Title X funding, Green’s bill, entitled the States Choose Life Act of 2023, stipulates that Title X be amended so that “The Secretary shall not require, as a condition on receipt of funds under this title, that any recipient or sub-recipient of such funds provide — ‘(1) referrals for pregnancy termination; or ‘(2) information or counseling on options for pregnancy termination that are unlawful in the State where the family planning services are being provided.’”
“As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, it’s important to remember that the fight for life is just beginning,” Green stated in a press release. “[S]tates should be allowed to [protect unborn babies] without suffering repercussions, financial or otherwise, from the federal government. No medical professional should be forced against his or her conscience to refer patients for abortions. As it stands today, Secretary Becerra is using Title X funding as a cudgel to force states to participate in abortions or risk losing funding. This is abhorrent.”
Green, who formerly served as an emergency room physician, told The Washington Stand, “The Biden administration’s attack on the health care of Tennesseans is malicious. But no amount of pressure will convince us to bow to this pro-abortion agenda. My message to President Biden: we won’t back down when it comes to protecting the life of the unborn.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.