Conservative Christians celebrate as President Trump gives states permission to defund Planned Parenthood, overturning an Obama-era rule protecting the family planning provider.
On Thursday, in a closed door setting, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that will allow states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
The bill passed the Senate last month after Vice President Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote.
The new law overturns a rule enacted by the Obama administration last year that prevents states from redirecting Title X funds, which are earmarked for family planning services, to other federally qualified health centers for political reasons.
In essence, the Obama-era rule had the effect of preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider because they offer abortion services.
Conservatives praised Trump for his anti-abortion, anti-woman move. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, declared:
Prioritizing funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive health care alternatives is a winning issue. We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life health care reform after the spring recess.
Planned Parenthood strongly opposes President Trump’s willingness to undermine millions of women’s access to birth control through the Title X family planning program. Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being.
Heidi Williamson, the senior policy analyst for the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress, condemned the action, arguing that it would harm women’s health. Williamson said:
Despite repeated promises that he would protect and invest in women’s health, President Trump has once again shown that his words carry little weight. Trump’s actions are creating very real and damaging consequences for millions of women and their families, inflicting direct harm on already vulnerable communities.
Bottom line: This is bad news. The new law will hurt Planned Parenthood, and only embolden the efforts of religious conservatives trying to deny women access to abortion.