The new round of stimulus spending that the House of Representatives approved last week contains no Hyde-amendment protections and would permit abortion providers including Planned Parenthood to obtain government relief.
Almost a year ago, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program operated by the Small Business Administration to help small businesses harmed by the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.
But the draft of the newest spending bill, which aims in part to reauthorize PPP and replenish its funding, has at least one problem: It will allow Planned Parenthood and its affiliates to obtain small-business loans.
During the debate over the CARES Act, Republican lawmakers successfully ensured that, in order to be eligible for PPP loans, small businesses could employ no more than 500 people and could not be structured as a large nonprofit with affiliates. This provision prohibited large employers such as Planned Parenthood, which has about 16,000 employees nationwide, from qualifying for the loans.
Nevertheless, several dozen Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country applied for and received PPP loans totaling about $80 million. Despite a number of Republican inquiries into the subject, the SBA has failed to supply further information as to how these affiliates were given loans despite being explicitly ineligible under the terms of the CARES Act.
This time around, Democrats are seeking to ensure that Planned Parenthood won’t have to commit loan fraud in order to get relief loans intended for small businesses. The draft bill, called the “American Rescue Plan,” alters the requirements of the CARES Act so that Planned Parenthood now qualifies for small-business forgivable loans.
Meanwhile, the legislation devotes a large amount of money to community health centers and exempts those funds from the Hyde amendment, which has historically prevented taxpayer money from directly reimbursing abortion procedures. According to the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, the bill “would funnel $50 million into what is often referred to as Planned Parenthood’s slush fund.”
In addition, the House bill subsidizes COBRA coverage, even if that coverage includes elective abortion, and it includes foreign-policy spending for International Affairs, not subject to the Helms amendment, which is meant to restrict foreign-assistance money used for abortion.
Asked directly about the subject, White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to say whether stimulus money will fund abortion, saying only that Biden “believes that community health centers are a key part of addressing the pandemic” and reiterating his opposition to the Hyde amendment.
Last month, 48 Republicans in the Senate and 200 Republicans in the House signed statements promising to oppose any bill that funds abortion.