Representative Mark Green (R-Tenn.) is set to introduce a bill aimed at protecting states from potential retribution by the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over pro-life legislation. The bill comes in response to the HHS threatening to withhold Title X funding from states that have passed legislation protecting unborn children following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
Title X is a federal program that provides family planning and preventive health care services to low-income families. Previously, Title X funds were not allowed to go to entities that perform abortions. However, in 2021, the Biden administration instituted a rule requiring abortion referrals upon client request. In response, HHS informed Tennessee that it was not in compliance with this rule due to the state’s legislation protecting unborn babies and would therefore withhold Title X funding.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Representative Green argued that Tennessee’s legislation was within its constitutional and legal bounds, referencing the Dobbs decision, which ruled that abortion is not a constitutional right. The bill, titled the States Choose Life Act of 2023, aims to amend Title X so that recipients of funds are not required to provide referrals or information on pregnancy termination options that are illegal in the state.
Representative Green emphasized the importance of protecting unborn babies and allowing states to do so without facing repercussions from the federal government. He criticized Secretary Becerra for using Title X funding as a means to force states to participate in abortions, calling it abhorrent.
Representative Green, who is a former emergency room physician, stated that the Biden administration’s attack on the healthcare of Tennesseans is malicious but that his state will not back down in protecting the lives of the unborn.
The bill aims to ensure that states have the freedom to enact pro-life legislation without fear of losing funding, and confronts the Biden administration’s push for abortion referrals and information through Title X.