U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has begun introducing her first bills in Congress, one of which would block funding to Planned Parenthood and other health centers that serve low-income patients and perform abortions.
The legislation would have no effect in Boebert’s district, however, given that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) hasn’t received funding from the family planning program that Boebert’s bill targets for two decades.
The proposed bill, which has almost no chance of advancing in the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, would ban federal family planning funds through the Title X grant program from being awarded to health centers that perform abortions.
Title X does not provide funding for abortion — only for contraception, STD testing, breast, and cervical cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured people.
While the Hyde Amendment has long banned federal funding for abortion, conservatives routinely attempt to prevent health centers that offer abortion services from receiving Title X funds for the other services they provide.
About 20 years ago, under Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) withdrew state family planning funds from PPRM based on its interpretation of the Colorado constitution’s ban on direct or indirect state funding for abortion care. Anti-abortion advocate Jane Norton, who led CDPHE at the time, argued that because PPRM provided abortions in the same facilities that used Title X dollars for non-abortion services, those dollars were indirectly funding abortion care. Since then, PPRM has not received funding through Title X.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump instated a similar policy that barred health providers that perform abortions or make abortion referrals from receiving Title X money, forcing the Planned Parenthood Federation of America to pull out of the program entirely. The only Colorado abortion provider that relied on Title X dollars at the time, the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, was also forced out of the program.
President Joe Biden is expected to reverse Trump’s Title X rule in the coming days.
Regardless of the details on Title X funding in Colorado and Boebert’s district, Boebert has been outspoken against abortion rights and Planned Parenthood both on the campaign trail and during her short time as a congresswoman.
In a Jan. 5 tweet, Boebert wrote, “Defund Planned Parenthood. Not police.”
In a tweet today, she wrote, “Federal dollars should NEVER be used to fund abortions. Planned Parenthood should go fund themselves. #SaveHyde.”
Boebert’s office did not return an inquiry seeking to know if she is aware that legislation to defund Planned Parenthood wouldn’t impact her district or the state of Colorado.
Colorado Republican Congressmen Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck, both staunch opponents of abortion rights, are cosponsoring the legislation as well.
Boebert is also cosponsoring three bills that take aim at Biden’s recent executive orders, including preventing funds from going to the World Health Organization, overturning the federal mask mandate, and preventing the U.S. from rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
During her short time in Congress, Boebert has drawn national attention and outrage for promoting conspiracies about fraud in the 2020 election, her involvement with far-right militia groups, and her insistence on carrying a firearm in the U.S. Capitol even after the deadly insurrection that occurred earlier this month, among other things.