Congressman French Hill: ‘Support for Protecting Life is Unwavering’

WASHINGTON – Congressman French Hill (AR-02) issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement of the Protect Life Rule to amend the Title X family planning program:

“The Administration’s actions delivered a victory for everyone fighting for the protection of unborn children and for religious freedom. I believe in the critical importance of access to effective and affordable health care services for women in Arkansas and throughout the country. This rule allows health care providers to follow their consciences while protecting the well-being of their patients by ensuring that Title X funds are not used to support abortion and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. Arkansans can count on my commitment to protecting every life – no matter how small.”

 Background:

Key elements of the proposed update include:

  • Requiring clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.
  • Improving program transparency by requiring more complete reporting by grantees about subrecipients and other program partners and their Title X funded activities, to ensure quality provision of family planning services and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Protecting Title X health providers so that they are not required to choose between the health of their patients and their own consciences, by eliminating the current requirement that they provide abortion counseling and referral. The proposal would not bar non-directive counseling on abortion, but would prohibit referral for abortion as a method of family planning.
  • Protecting women and children who have experienced child abuse, child molestation, incest, sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner violence, and trafficking by:

o   Requiring annual training for staff at Title X clinics and ensuring they have a site-specific protocol in place to protect victims.

o   Requiring compliance with State and local laws on reporting or notification of these crimes.

o   Providing counseling to minors on how to resist attempts to coerce them into sexual activities.

  • Requiring clinics to encourage meaningful parent/child communication and, as required by federal law, encourage family participation in a minor’s decision to seek family planning services, giving practical ways to begin – and maintain – such communication.
  • Maintaining the patient/doctor confidential relationship within the statutory requirements.
  • Permitting individuals to qualify for Title X services if they are unable to obtain employer-sponsored insurance coverage for certain contraceptive services due to their employer’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.