In one of his final feats as commander-in-chief, President Obama has enacted a rule prohibiting states from removing millions of dollars from the nation’s biggest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
The rule which is scheduled to go into effect on January, 18th, “requires states to distribute funds from Title X of the Public Health Service Act without taking into account whether recipient clinics perform abortions,” states the Washington Times.
While, Title X funds are earmarked for family planning services, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer, they are not authorized to be used to directly subsidize abortions.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America released a statement saying, “This rule protects birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other health care for millions of people, yet this fight is not over. We are deeply concerned about the future of health care access in this country with extremists like Mike Pence and Tom Price at the helm. ”
Richards went on to praise President Obama for the new ruling but expressed concern as to whether or not the rule would continue under President Trump’s administration.
The new Title X rule is the latest effort by the president to prevent Republicans at the state and federal levels from defunding Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year, Congress sent a bill to the president’s desk for approval that would strip Planned Parenthood of the bulk of its funding. Obama vetoed the bill and then issued a memo warning officials in every state that blocking Medicaid dollars from Planned Parenthood violates federal law.
Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black, who sits on the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, said the Obama administration “will not have the last word” on the new ruling.
“We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this eleventh hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long,” Ms. Black said in a statement. “Come next year, our pro-life majorities in Congress will be positioned to work with President-Elect Trump and pro-life nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, to not only roll back this latest overreach but also to enact new legal protections for these most vulnerable members of our society.”
Senior attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, Steven H. Aden, told reporters that states should be able to choose how to allocate funds at the local level.
Aden said, “The Obama administration, even in its waning hours, has chosen to put Planned Parenthood’s Big Abortion agenda ahead of women’s health and the right of states to decide how best to prioritize public health funding so that patients and the most comprehensive health providers come first.”
He went on to say that Mr. Trump “should restore the focus on women’s health and the ability of states to best serve them by rescinding this Title X order immediately after taking office as president.”
At least 14 states have taken action to cut Planned Parenthood’s share of Title X funding in recent years, often allocating those dollars to family planning clinics that do not perform abortions.
According to a 2015 Congressional Budget Office analysis, Planned Parenthood receives approximately $60 million annually from Title X grants.
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