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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Cole Op-Ed in The Hill: Title X funding changes will protect our families

June 6, 2018
Weekly Columns
This article was originally published in The Hill on June 6, 2018.
Our Declaration of Independence boldly states that each of us is endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and first among these is the right to life itself. I have always read that powerful statement to include the right of the unborn to life, and throughout my many years of political service, I have striven to be a champion for unborn children and vulnerable minors.
 
I have used my platform as the chairman of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee to advance pro-life language in each bill that is brought to the committee for consideration. Each year, the bill I produce continues the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to perform abortions, and includes other restrictions to ensure that vulnerable children and minors are not inadvertently exploited using federal dollars.
 
Recently, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the Trump administration’s updated regulations for the Title X Family Planning Program. The last time that major modifications were made to Title X was over 18 years ago during the Clinton administration, and since then, there have been serious concerns that the implementation of Title X has significantly deviated from its original congressional intent.
 
The proposed regulations strive to ensure that facilities receiving federal Title X funds comply with existing federal statute by requiring a physical and financial separation in facilities that also provide abortions. Not only will this requirement protect federal funds from being misused, but it will prevent abortion from being used as a method of birth control, as the original Title X statute requires. The proposed regulations would also no longer require health professionals to refer patients to abortion clinics, thus allowing them to practice in accordance with their personal beliefs and values.
 
Additionally, these new regulations will ensure that language included in the annual appropriations bill I oversee provides protection to victims of child abuse, child molestation, incest, rape, and intimate partner violence which will be meaningfully and vigorously enforced by all Title X grantees.
 
As a member of Congress who proudly defends the rights of America’s unborn children, as well as the rights of vulnerable minors, I am in strong support of proposed regulations to the Title X Family Planning Program. I am confident that these modifications will assist with restoring Title X back to its original purpose. I am proud to support President Trump and Secretary Azar’s regulation changes, and I am grateful for their dedication and leadership.
 
Cole represents Oklahoma’s 4th District and is chairman of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.
Online: The Hill
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