Valuing women, valuing the taxpayer’s consience

Friday, 28 April 2017

By Tom Venzor

On April 13, President Donald Trump signed into law a pro-life bill, passed by Congress, that reversed a government rule established by Pres. Barack Obama. The rule prohibited states from prioritizing Title X (family planning services) funding to comprehensive health clinics and away from abortion providers. President Obama’s rule was viewed as a “parting gift” to Planned Parenthood. Because this egregious rule was overturned, Nebraskans can achieve one of our most significant pro-life victories in years.

 The Title X Family Planning Program is a federal grant program that provides family planning services. While this includes health services such as annual well-woman exams, STD testing and treatment, and HPV testing and vaccinations, it also includes problematic services such as contraception.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services receives Title X grant funds from the federal government. The funds then “pass through” to a variety of grantee organizations. Over $1.5 million are distributed to the organizations. The prime recipient is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which receives nearly $300,000 per year.

The state budget bill, LB327, contains a provision that would prioritize Title X funding to ensure that the funds are directed to clinics providing comprehensive healthcare services (e.g., preventive health services, dental services, mental health and substance abuse services) rather than entities that abort unborn children. Entities that would be prioritized are: federally qualified health centers, community health centers, hospitals, and public health departments.

Unsurprisingly, pro-choice activists vehemently oppose this priority scheme. They claim the provision would cut healthcare spending, harm rural communities, and lead to individuals losing healthcare access. But these claims are false.

First, the LB327 provision would not eliminate existing funding for Title X services. The funding will be maintained, but the funds will go to those facilities who offer the most comprehensive health services.

Second, rural communities will retain access to providers who deliver comprehensive health care services. Throughout the state of Nebraska, federally qualified health centers, community health centers, hospitals, public health departments, and rural health centers provide important health services to women and men. Further, any number of other non-profit entities are willing to assist women and men access to necessary health services.

Third, individuals will retain robust access to healthcare. As noted, rural communities will retain access to any variety of providers who can assist with comprehensive healthcare services. This is even more true in urban communities—such as Lincoln and Omaha—where Planned Parenthood resides.

Additionally, the state’s ability to prioritize funding for entities that provide comprehensive health care services protects the conscience of taxpayers. Citizens across Nebraska have serious moral and faith concerns about abortion. This includes the provision of tax dollars to entities that perform abortions.

While abortion providers like Planned Parenthood claim that Title X dollars are prohibited from funding abortion services, reasonable people know better. The reality is that money is fungible. Money that is solicited for one purpose can be easily used for another purpose.

For example, let’s say I have $1,000 in private funds to use for two purposes. I have $700 to use for making guns and the remaining $300 for making butter. If the government creates a program for butter-makers and grants me $300 in taxpayer funds, I can easily divert some or all of the original $300 I used for butter and allocate that for making additional guns.

Similarly, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood have limited funds to provide abortions and contraception. The supplementation of government taxpayer funding for contraception allows them to free up funds for abortions.

In short, when taxpayer dollars go to Planned Parenthood, reasonable taxpayers seriously object. They object that their hard-earned dollars are directed toward entities that kill unborn children and create psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual harm for the mother and others.

Take Action. We urge you to contact your Senator and ask them to support our state budget provision that prioritizes Title X funds and truly protect the healthcare of women and men across Nebraska and protect taxpayer funding from being directed to entities, like Planned Parenthood, that provide abortions. Contact your Senator by visiting www.nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_find.php.

Continue to pray for our state to cultivate a culture of life!