Obama Administration blocks states from defunding Planned Parenthood
As a last gesture of support for women and families, the Obama administration finalized a regulation Wednesday that would prevent politicians from defunding Planned Parenthood. The new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services prevents states from withholding money from health care providers for any reason other than ineffectiveness at providing family planning services.
“This rule will strengthen access to essential services like cancer screenings and contraception for some of the most vulnerable patients in this country,” said Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Chief Medical Officer, Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH. “Public comments showed overwhelming support for finalizing the rule.” And while the rule doesn’t specifically name Planned Parenthood it’s obvious that the organization was in mind since 24 Republican-controlled state legislatures have tried to cut funding to Planned Parenthood in the last five years.
Planned Parenthood receives federal money under two programs Title X and Medicaid, both of which aim at helping low- to middle-income people. Title X funds can’t be used for abortions, and Medicaid funds can only be used for abortions in very limited cases like rape, incest, or to protect the mother’s life. In simpler terms, only three percent of the services Planned Parenthood provided last year were related to abortions, federal money doesn’t fund abortions anyway, and taking funding away from Planned Parenthood makes absolutely no sense. “President Obama has cemented his legacy as a champion for women’s health,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “This rule protects birth control, cancer screenings, [sexually transmitted infection] testing and treatment and other health care for millions of people.”
Trump could still overturn the rule using the Congressional Review Act that lets federal lawmakers roll back regulations. Thankfully, Planned Parenthood has a fierce president who is ready to fight for women. “We will not back down, and we will continue to fight for our patients’ access to care,” Richards explained. “Every person deserves the right to control their own bodies, their own health, and their own well-being without politicians getting in the way.”
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