On December 14, 2016, at the end of the Obama Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation that would block states under the federal family planning program (Title X) from denying funding to providers such as Planned Parenthood. See 81 Federal Register 91852 (December 19, 2016). The rule went into effect on January 18, 2017.
Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 days to overrule a new regulation through a joint resolution of disapproval. A House resolution to disapprove (H.J. Res. 43) was introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), with 147 cosponsors. The companion Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 13) was introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), with 19 cosponsors.
On February 16, 2017, H.J. Res. 43 was approved by the House, 230-yes, 188-no (Roll Call 99). The resolution then was sent to the Senate for its concurrence.
On March 30, 2017, the Senate agreed to proceed to the consideration of H.J. Res. 43 and thereafter passed the resolution, 50-yes, 50-no, with the Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding affirmative vote (Roll Call 101).
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised the House and Senate for disapproving the Obama Administration policy. “The clear purpose of this Title X rule change was to benefit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.” The Cardinal added: “So Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care.”
On April 13, 2017, President Trump signed H.J. Res 43 into law.
The Title X rule change was bad policy. As Cardinal Dolan stated in his February 14 letter to Congress, “It is deeply troubling to many Americans that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion network…receives more than half a billion taxpayer dollars per year. This concern has rightly grown with revelations about Planned Parenthood’s willingness to traffic in fetal tissue from abortions, and to alter abortion methods not for any reason related to women’s health but to obtain more ‘intact’ organs. Additionally, a recent revelation that the vast majority of Planned Parenthood facilities do not provide prenatal services provides additional evidence of its bias toward providing and promoting abortion.”
For the Cardinal’s full statement see: humanlifeaction.org/sites/default/files/Title%20X%20letter%20to%20House_0.pdf
Also see the Fact Sheet, “Planned Parenthood: Setting the Record Straight,” at: humanlifeaction.org/sites/default/files/PPFA-fact-sheet-2015_0.pdf