News & Politics

President Trump Signs Law to Let States Defund Planned Parenthood

Credit: Ron Sachs / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX

On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed a law reversing President Obama’s last-minute attempt to force states to direct family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that commit abortions.

“This week the pro-life movement had two huge victories: first, the swearing-in of Justice Gorsuch and now, President Trump will undo former President Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry,” declared Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement on the bill’s signing.

“The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are no forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars,” Dannenfelser argued. “Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive health care clinics that better serve women and girls.”

Obama issued the order in December of last year, barring states from withholding federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates and other health clinics that provide abortions. As if issuing the order were not enough, he planned it to come into effect two days before the January 20 inauguration of President Trump.

In February, the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res.43 (230 to 188), striking down Obama’s ruling. Late last month, Vice President Mike Pence broke a Senate tie to pass the bill. This was Pence’s second time breaking a tie in the Senate, after he cast the deciding vote for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“Prioritizing funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive health care alternatives is a winning issue,” Dannenfelser declared.

This pro-life victory followed the failure of President Trump’s first bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Pro-life groups supported the AHCA, because it would have struck down many Obamacare provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion. But the bill failed to pass the House of Representatives, partially because other conservative groups said it didn’t go far enough in repealing Obama’s signature health law.

Naturally, pro-abortion groups condemned the law. Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, attacked the bill as an example of politicians chipping away at woman’s rights and making it harder for the less fortunate to get health care. “We won’t stand for it,” Schriock declared.

Similarly, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the Trump administration should build on Obama’s order, “instead of enacting policies that take us backward.”

But the law only allows states to redirect funds from abortion providing groups, it does not force them to do so. This enables smaller governments which are more connected to average citizens to make the decision, rather than pushing a one-size-fits-all abortion funding policy on every state.