Friday, April 14, 2017

Trump Signs Law That Allows States To Defund Planned Parenthood

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President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Thursday that allows states to individually remove family planning funding from Planned Parenthood. The law overturns an Obama administration rule prohibiting states to block funding to qualified health organizations that provide abortions.

Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to break a tie vote over the repealing of the rule in March. Two Republican Senators had voted against the bill, enabling Pence to perform his first tie-breaking act as president of the Senate.

The law does not strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood — a move that was attempted by Republicans as part of the failed Obamacare repeal bill and is still being pursued by Republicans in Congress — but gives states that oppose Planned Parenthood the power to prevent them from receiving state-managed Title X family planning grants. Under this law, Planned Parenthood will still receive Medicaid reimbursements from the federal government for providing non-abortion services to low-income women.

The law overturns a Department of Health and Human Services rule, which was implemented in the dog days of Obama's administration in a last-ditch effort to protect Planned Parenthood from losing funding under a Republican Congress and president. The rule prevented states from withholding those funds from qualified health centers for "reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services," the White House office of the Press Secretary wrote Thursday.

A Department of Health and Human Services report released when the rule was first implemented said that since 2011, 13 states restricted Title X funds from going toward clinics that provide abortion, harming those clinics’ ability to see and provide treatment for low-income patients.

Federal funds cannot, however, go toward abortions themselves. Clinics like Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed with Title X funds for providing non-abortion services such as cancer screenings, STD tests, fertility services, and contraception to low-income patients without insurance who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but a federal law called the Hyde Amendment prevents any state or federal funding from going directly toward providing abortions.  

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