At his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told Senator Mike Braun he would “uphold the law” regarding federal dollars being spent on abortion. On March 31, Senator Mike Braun sent a letter to Secretary Becerra to ensure that he is following the current HHS Title X Rule in place which confirms the Congressional intent and requires that Title X funds not be distributed to any program or organization which provides or recommends abortion.
Senator Braun writes in his letter:
“On March 29, 2021, my office received notice that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded over five million dollars to the Indiana Family Health Council Incorporated (IFHC), an entity tasked with the distribution of Title X grant dollars to organizations in the Hoosier state. During your nomination process, you pledged that if confirmed, you would uphold the law. It is imperative that you take steps to ensure the longstanding intent of Congress is respected and no federal dollars under Title X are used to support abortion.”
In 1970, the Title X Family Planning Program was authorized by the United States Congress with the aim of ensuring that low-income patients have access to reproductive health services by distributing funding for testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, and cancer screenings.
Since its authorization, Congress has prohibited Title X funding from being used for abortion services, including abortion counseling and referrals.
On March 18, 2021, Secretary Becerra published a release indicating that HHS plans to propose revised regulations without the compliance measures in place with a goal of finalizing any Title X regulation by December of this year. Eleven days after this release, Secretary Becerra issued over $5 million to the Indiana Family Health Council Incorporated to implement Title X programming.
Senator Braun is requesting documents and communications related to Title X applicants, as well as a detailed explanation of how HHS will ensure compliance with the existing Title X law and corresponding regulations so that no funding is used to support abortion services, including abortion counseling and abortion referrals.
Senator Braun concludes his letter to Secretary Becerra:
“I must stress that while an alternative rule is being drafted, reviewed, and finalized, the Trump Administration Title X Rule remains in place. During your confirmation hearing, I asked whether you would respect the longstanding position of Congress and American taxpayers by excluding funding for abortion in the distribution of HHS dollars. While you did not answer my question, you were firm in stating that you would uphold the law. As the Biden Administration rushes to get Title X funding out the door, I ask that HHS remain compliant with the law and corresponding regulations currently in place.”