Mary Margaret Olohan
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted Wednesday that Title X federal funds for abortion clinics cannot be used for abortions.
Psaki discussed President Joe Biden’s decision to undo former President Donald Trump’s Protect Life Rule, which prohibited Title X Family Planning Program funds from going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. The new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule eliminates the separation for Title X programs and abortion providers.
“Why does the Biden administration insist that pro-life Americans pay for abortions and violate their conscience?” EWTN reporter Owen Jensen asked Psaki during Wednesday’s press briefing.
Psaki told Jensen that his question was “not an accurate depiction of what happens.”
“None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” Psaki said, quoting Section 1008 of the Public Health Service Act.
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Jensen pushed back on her response, suggesting that the clinics could still use the funds for abortions through “indirect subsidies, money that is fungible, can’t be traced.”
“That is not how it works,” Psaki responded. “That is the law, so I’m stating what the law is, and how it is implemented legally by these organizations.”
Psaki’s special assistant Amanda Finney also told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday afternoon that “abortion services cannot legally be funded through Title X.”
Trump ordered in July 2019 that family planning clinics be stripped of their Title X funding if they refer women for abortions. The president’s rules required that organizations that perform abortions and make referrals do so in separate buildings from those that receive Title X federal funds.
The Biden administration quickly took steps to reverse the policy.
In a Jan. 28 executive order, the new president ordered HHS to perform a review of Title X family planning regulations and and consider “as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations.”
Susan B. Anthony List spokeswoman Mallory Quigley told the DCNF that Psaki was just “repeating regulatory language.”
“The problem is that Title X money can basically be used for anything – electricity bill, advertising, etc. and money is fungible,” Quigley said. “So before the Protect Life Rule (and now after) funding will go to ‘family planning’ operations that exist within the same four walls as where they are doing abortions.”
“The admin and abortion lobby says that because it is not going directly to fund abortion it is compliant with the language but this isn’t the case,” she said.
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