President Trump just signed a bill into law that would let states off the hook for denying Title X funding to Planned Parenthood.
In the last month of his presidency, former President Barack Obama instructed his Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a new policy that prohibits states from withholding Title X funding –money for family planning programs geared toward low-income women– for organizations like Planned Parenthood unless the group in question demonstrated a lack of “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” With the stroke of Donald Trump’s pen, that policy has now been repealed.
As ThinkProgress reported, 24 state legislatures under majority Republican control have already passed bills to defund Planned Parenthood. However, they were prohibited from doing so under existing Title X rules, which Obama further protected with the ruling handed down from HHS last year. While Republicans’ stated motivation behind these bills is to prevent taxpayer funds from going toward abortion services, the Hyde Amendment, which has been on the books since 1976, already prohibits taxpayer funding for abortions.
The longstanding Republican war on Planned Parenthood has the potential to jeopardize women’s access to crucial healthcare services like breast cancer screenings, STD/STI screenings and treatment, and contraceptive care. Only 3 percent of Planned Prenthood’s resources go to abortion services. And as the Washington Post reported, 75 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clientele have incomes within 150 percent of the federal poverty line.
The bill repealing Obama’s Title X protections was sent to President Trump’s desk after Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding tiebreaker vote in the Senate, as several Republicans voted with Democrats to kill the bill.
In a public statement, Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens said Trump’s action jeopardized healthcare access for millions of women.
“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,” Laguens stated. “Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being.”
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.