U.S. Rep. Diane Black was at President Trump’s side last week as he signed pro-life legislation that she introduced in the House.
The measure signed into law Thursday overturned an Obama administration rule that forced states to provide Title X family planning grants to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The Tennessee Republican said in a statement that while she is “unapologetically pro-life, this bill is simply about states’ rights.”
“For over 45 years, states like Tennessee have had the authority to direct federal family planning funds to the health care providers that best suit the needs of their unique communities, but sadly, in a parting gift to the abortion industry, President Obama stole this freedom and flexibility and forced his own political agenda on states across the country,” Black said.
A registered nurse, Black is a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
The measure was co-authored by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). On March 30, Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote to push the bill through in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim majority. Pence was needed because two Republican women, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, opposed the bill. The measure had passed in the House in February by a bipartisan vote of 230 to 188.
Following the vote in the Senate, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement praising Black and Ernst and slamming Obama’s Health and Human Services rule as “executive overreach and a handout to the abortion industry that has no basis in law.”
“Planned Parenthood and its allies have been repeatedly exposed in their horrifying trafficking of aborted babies’ tissues and organs,” Perkins said. “As a nation, we are without excuse in subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s gruesome trafficking of baby body parts and its inhumane treatment of mothers and their unborn children.”
“We now call on Congress to take the next step to end the forced partnership between taxpayers and a group that exalts cash over care,” Perkins concluded.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, also praised the legislation.
“The clear purpose of this Title X rule change was to benefit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” Dolan said in a statement. “So Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventative health care.”