January 10, 2011 — Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduced a bill (HR 217) that would make organizations that offer abortion services with their own funds ineligible for federal Title X grants, which fund family planning and other preventive health services, CNN Politics reports. Current law already prohibits the use of Title X money for abortion services.
The bill -- titled the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act -- has 122 co-sponsors. A similar version of the bill was introduced two years ago (Mooney, CNN Politics, 1/7).
In a press release, Pence said the bill "would not reduce the total amount of funds available for family planning; it would simply block funding to organizations that perform abortions." He specifically cited Planned Parenthood as a target of the bill, arguing that the legislation would "ensure that abortion providers are not being subsidized with federal tax dollars." The release noted that Title X is "the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing comprehensive family planning and related [preventive] health services" (Pence release, 1/7).
Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said that no Title X money is used for abortion, though the bill would affect services for many low-income and uninsured women who rely on the organization for reproductive health care. Title X grants are used for contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections, pelvic exams and other preventive services, she added (Merwin, TriState HomePage, 1/7).