Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar addressed some misconceptions being promoted by liberals surrounding the recent rule announced on May 18, 2018 to partially defund Planned Parenthood and other similar abortion businesses from receiving federal taxpayer dollars.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained to Democrat Susan Davis (U.S. House Representative, CA’s 53rd Congressional District) that the move to block Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving taxpayer dollars through Title X funds (unless they completely separate their abortion business from other taxpayer funded services) is not a gag rule, like liberals and Democrats are claiming.
Planned Parenthood typically receives up to $50-$60 millions in funds through the roughly $286 million in Title X funds that go towards family planning for low income families.
Davis herself referred to the rule as a “domestic gag rule,” and said she couldn’t see how it is beneficial to women “if we’re putting these restrictions even thinking about that in a domestic way, this includes referrals, this includes every kind of service that could be provided in this area.”
HHS Secretary Azar responded by emphatically stating that there is no such thing as a domestic gag rule included in the latest version of the rule proposed by the Trump administration.
“The Title X proposed regulation does not have a proposed gag rule in it,” Azar said to Representative Susan Davis, “that was something from a past administration. That was not in the proposed rule. We actually allow non-directive counseling related to abortion services in the proposal.”
Representative Davis later tweeted a partial video of the exchange, claiming in her tweet that HHS Secretary Azar did not answer her questions, when in fact, he did.
Not talking about abortions doesn't prevent them, it only increases the rate of unsafe abortions. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar couldn't answer why this counterproductive policy is in place, given how detrimental it is to women's overall health. #GlobalGagRule pic.twitter.com/dNiK45INz1
— Rep. Susan Davis (@RepSusanDavis) June 6, 2018
The White House specifically addressed this issue in a press release given the day of the announcement of the proposed rule. The press release stated that the “new proposed rule would not cut funds from the Title X program. Instead, it would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions. Contrary to recent media reports, HHS’s proposal does not include the so-called “gag rule” on counseling about abortion that was part of the Reagan Administration’s Title X rule.”
As California Family Council previously pointed out, “the rule by itself does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, but it does strip federal taxpayer dollars away from the abortion giant if they refuse to separate abortion from the other services that they advertise so loudly.”