Monday Memo — Should Federal Funds be Shifted Away from Abortion Industry?

One of the questions facing the new administration in Washington, DC, is whether federal funds should be used to finance the abortion industry in America. The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) recently addressed this question.On February 2, 2017, CMDA urged Congressional leaders to shift health funds toward federal centers and away from abortion industry. CMDA’s CEO Dr. David Stevens wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the following letter:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell:

Thank you for your strong, principled and common-sense leadership on the issue of preventing American tax dollars from funding abortion on demand. Thank you also for your commitment to providing healthcare access to the poor and other vulnerable patients in need.

On behalf of the over 18,000 members of the Christian Medical Association, we urge you to:

  1. Ensure the reallocation of funding currently used by abortion-performing, partisan political organizations such as Planned Parenthood, by directing that funding instead to the over 13,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs); and,
  2. Overturn, through the Congressional Review Act, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule finalized December 19, 2016, titled “Compliance with Title X Requirements by Project Recipients in Selecting Subrecipients,” in order to ensure that states are allowed to take a similar direction in allocating federal funding.

Many of our members serve in federally funded centers that focus on providing care to patients regardless of who the patient is or what the patient’s values, orientation, ethnicity or any other qualities may be. As you know well, needy patients depend on these centers and on physicians like our members to provide healthcare when likely no one else would provide healthcare for them. FQHCs provide comprehensive services and a “medical home” for whole families and work in the areas of most critical need.

According to the independent government watchdog (GAO) in 2012, FQHCs served 21 million individuals and provided services including STD testing, cancer screening and contraceptive management, as well as other services including immunizations and general child wellness exams. FQHCs and RHCs often meet patient needs on modest budgets, and those who serve in these centers often do so at great personal financial sacrifice. Unlike Planned Parenthood, which follows an aggressive business plan designed to maximize profits on services such as abortion, these centers exist for the purpose of serving the nation’s most needy patients.

Yet some medical groups like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, whose pro-abortion ideology aligns with Planned Parenthood and whose members profit personally from working with Planned Parenthood, decry “political interference in the patient-physician relationship.” This cry comes, oddly enough, while applying pressure on politicians to fund political groups like Planned Parenthood. It is also worth observing what sources such as the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and PolitiFact National have confirmed—that Planned Parenthood spends millions of dollars each year for one partisan purpose: to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans.

It’s hard to get more political than that, and it’s impossible to get more politically partisan than that.

The majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to subsidize abortion, and they certainly do not want their tax dollars to subsidize an abortion-performing partisan political machine. Because of the strong concern of American taxpayers, existing federal law addresses direct funding of abortion. However, the fungible nature of federal grants to Planned Parenthood means that every American’s tax dollars, regardless of their convictions about abortion, are being used to prop up the abortion industry.

Any organization that wishes to avoid political entanglement can do so quite easily—by simply foregoing government funding. Those who seek funding should expect federal and/or state oversight, requirements and standards.

Even the most modest of standards should disqualify from federal funding organizations such as Planned Parenthood, given the recent findings of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, the list of 15 criminal and regulatory referrals made by the Panel, and the referral by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution.

If any organization can and should do without federal funding, the billion-dollar, corrupt abortion business Planned Parenthood is a prime example.

We respectfully urge you to reallocate American tax dollars away from such profit-centered, divisive and partisan organizations and provide funding instead to patient-centered, non-controversial and nonpartisan Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs). And we urge you to ensure that states can do the same, applying reasonable state standards and requirements to those who seek to use taxpayer funds.

Thank you very much for your consideration of these views.

David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)

What are your thoughts?

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