A new bill introduced in Congress by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and others, will allow states the right to deny “qualified provider” status to any person or organization, such as Planned Parenthood, that “performs, or participates in the performance of, abortions.”
If passed, it will prevent Planned Parenthood from raking in millions of dollars per year from taxpayers and make the world a little safer for preborn babies.
Some legislative history is necessary to understand how Medicaid funding ends up in the hands of abortion sellers.
As a general rule, Congress has used legislative tools such as the Hyde Amendment as a rider attached to new appropriations bills to prohibit federal funds going toward abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Where that exception becomes a point of contention is with Medicaid, a healthcare program for low-income individuals authorized as part of the Social Security Act. The program is funded partly by the federal government and partly by the states.
It’s also an avenue for Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers to subsidize their abortion practice by offering non-abortion services as well.
How does that work?
Medicaid allows government-funded abortions for low-income individuals only in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. (States can decide to fund other abortions with their own funds).
However, by offering other things like “family planning” services – which often means referring women for abortions – Planned Parenthood earns Medicaid reimbursements on a massive scale, while promoting abortion in the process.
A recent government report indicates that in a three-year period from 2016 to 2018, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates received $1.3 billion in Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) payments, over $300 million of which were in Medicaid reimbursements.
States have attempted – with mixed success – to revoke Planned Parenthood’s status as a qualified Medicaid provider. However, some courts have interpreted the language of the Medicaid Act to deny states the right to define or limit who can be “qualified providers.”
Lankford’s bill, known as the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act, would hand power to the states to deny abortion sellers “qualified provider” status, even though they might also be offering non-abortion family planning services.
The bill is necessary because the money Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers earn for “family planning” services is a method they use to subsidize their abortion businesses.
Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood employee turned pro-life activist, told Focus on the Family’s Citizen Magazine in 2018 how it works:
Medicaid and Title X funding enable [Planned Parenthood] because [the] money is fungible. So long as they are freed up by these resources to cover and bill for non-abortion related services, they can take donated money to push their abortion agenda.
Lankford’s effort is joined by 11 co-sponsors in the Senate. Congressman Michael Cloud, R-Texas, will introduce a similar bill in the House of Representatives.
It has already received support from such groups as the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, CatholicVote, March for Life, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, Americans United for Life, Students for Life Action, National Right to Life, Family Research Council, Family Policy Alliance, Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Ethics and Public Policy Center HHS Accountability Project.
The bill is a necessary step toward ending abortion in the United States. Taxpayers should not have to pay for even a single abortion, nor should they be forced to subsidize those who perform them.
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