The Trump administration has issued controversial changes to Title X, the federal grant program for family planning, in its continued efforts to improve women’s health and protect religious liberty. This action fulfills one of President Trump’s core campaign promises and ensures that taxpayers will no longer be forced to indirectly fund abortion through Title X federal grants. This move exemplifies President Trump and Vice President Pence’s unambiguous commitment to life and religious liberty. Despite protecting human rights, the new Title X rule has been met with a wealth of misplaced resistance.
There was a loud outcry when Trump’s Press Secretary first announced the proposed rule change for Title X in May of 2018. The action was postponed until recently and the criticism has resurfaced. The New York Times has cited concerns over access to contraception and other healthcare for low-income individuals, even describing the plan as cruel. Planned Parenthood along with most critics are referring to the move as a gag rule due to the section that makes it illegal for providers in the program to refer patients for abortion. Among all the criticism, some of it valid, there is a pattern of missing the point. When the New York Times refers to this rule as an example of the effort of “anti-abortion advocates,” they are ignoring or downplaying the foundation of the issue. The real battle is being fought over religious liberty and the dignity of all human beings, which includes the unborn.
Twenty-one states recently filed lawsuits against the Trump administration rule. A similar challenge was heard by the Supreme Court in 1991: Rust v. Sullivan, which resulted in a ruling that upheld regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services. These regulations prohibited employees in facilities that receive Title X funds from counseling patients on abortion. HHS stated in the issuance of the final rule that “from the start, Congress was clear that Title X funds cannot be used to support abortion.” Many Americans voted for Donald J. Trump because they knew he would nominate originalist judges to the Supreme Court who would honor the Founders’ intentions. These 21 states will waste taxpayer dollars to find out that the American people have not relinquished their liberty, even if they were told they should in the name of healthcare and progress.
In the wake of the new Title X rule, federal funds for family planning will be directed away from Planned Parenthood if they do not restructure their facilities to separate abortion from other health services. This restructuring, in the short term, may create an obstacle to receiving health services for patients in the way they are accustomed to. However, the funding for Title X will not be cut whatsoever. In fact, the funding has increased consistently, and there is no reason to suspect that it will not continue to do so. Any threat of access to contraception and other health services will be short term and mostly a matter of switching facilities. There are federally qualified health centers that outnumber abortion centers.
This new rule is for the greater good and for the integral development of the country and its citizens. The right of a human being to freely exercise their religion is affirmed not only in the First Amendment to the Constitution, but in other major declarations on human rights. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Second Vatican Council Declaration on Religious Freedom both affirm as much. It is a clear-cut violation of human rights when taxpayers are forced to participate in the termination of life in the womb, especially when it is contrary to the moral demand of their conscience.