Tennessee Rep. Green introduces States Choose Life Act to stop Biden admin's 'retribution' on pro-life states

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., will introduce the States Choose Life Act of 2023 on Tuesday to protect Tennessee and other pro-life states from the Biden administration and “retribution” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fox News has learned.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Green said his legislation would prevent the HHS from stripping Title X funding from states that do not allow abortions and do not refer residents to abortion-allowing states, as it is doing to Tennessee.

“HHS cannot be allowed to continue forcing states to participate in abortions or risk losing Title X healthcare funding,” Rep. Green said in an exclusive statement. “Tennesseans and Americans from coast to coast rely on Title X for access to care.”

Green, who is also an ER physician, added: “If states are unable to backfill the void of revoked Title X funding, many Americans could be left without access to cancer screenings and pregnancy services. We must protect the rights of states to pass pro-life laws, without the federal government seeking retribution.”

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Tennessee Rep. Mark Green speaking

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., will introduce his bill, the States Choose Life Act of 2023, on Tuesday to protect pro-life states. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Title X is a family planning program that was established under the Public Health Service Act in 1970. It offers access to contraceptive care and other services, particularly to low-income Americans, and serves approximately 4 million people annually, according to the HHS.

The Trump administration initially passed a rule that widely prohibited funding from being used for abortion services, but the Biden administration reversed this rule.

Rep. Green is taking action to prevent the HHS from weaponizing Title X to remove funding against states that choose to protect the right to life, saying his bill “will protect Tennessee from being bullied by the federal government into propping up the abortion industry.”

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“Specifically, my legislation amends Title X of the Public Health Service Act to prohibit HHS from revoking funding for states that don’t make referrals for abortion,” he said.

The bill also comes after the HHS wrote a letter to the State of Tennessee saying it would no longer be providing Title X funding, which the state has utilized to support low-income families for decades.

Mark Green, Bennie Thompson

Green, R-Tenn., said his legislation would prevent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from stripping Title X funding from pro-life states. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Green wrote a letter earlier this month to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing “great concern” over the revocation.

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“This funding has supported Tennessee families for decades, and your decision to revoke this funding to score political points is unacceptable,” the Tennessee Republican said. “While your department may struggle to comprehend statutory law and your solemn oaths to uphold said laws, the State of Tennessee is operating well within its constitutional and legal bounds.”

He added in the letter: “This administration has made it clear that it will exploit every opportunity to skirt the laws and push its radical agenda on American citizens. I am extremely disappointed that you [have] chosen this divisive path.”

The legislation also comes nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which recognized a constitutional right to abortion, in its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ruling was decided on June 24, 2022.

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Green said the anniversary marks the “beginning” of the fight to protect unborn life.

“As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, it’s important to remember that the fight for life is just beginning,” Green cautioned. “Though the tyranny of Roe is over, it is now up to states to protect unborn babies. And states should be allowed to do so without suffering repercussions, financial or otherwise, from the federal government.”

Mark Green, Dale Strong

Rep. Green said the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization marks the “beginning” of the fight to protect unborn life. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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He added: “No medical professional should be forced against his or her conscience to refer patients for abortions. As it stands today, Secretary Becerra is using Title X funding as a cudgel to force states to participate in abortions or risk losing funding. This is abhorrent.”

Tennessee was awarded more than $7.1 million in Title X funding last year, according to the HHS. The Biden administration awarded $256.6 million for Title X family services nationwide.

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