President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Thursday overturning a regulation issued by the Obama administration that barred states from stripping federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood.
In the final days of former President Barack Obama’s administration, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation that restricted the ability of states to block “specific types of providers,” such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving Title X funds “based on reasons unrelated to their ability to provide required services in an effective manner.”
The Obama administration argued that the rule would increase access to family planning services. Opponents of the regulation argued that it stripped the ability of states to decide where Title X funds would be best spent.
On Twitter, Planned Parenthood criticized Trump for signing the bill.
BREAKING: Trump signs bill undoing protections for 4 million people getting care through #TitleX. #HandsOffMyBC… https://t.co/QMGPlJW0S5— Planned Parenthood Action (@Planned Parenthood Action)1492100303.0
“People are tired of mostly white, male politicians making decisions about our health care, rights or communities — without input,” they added.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) spearheaded the legislation in their respective chambers.
In a statement, Ernst said she is “pleased” that Trump signed the bill “to ensure that states are not forced to provide entities like Planned Parenthood — the nation’s single largest provider of abortions — with federal Title X dollars”:
States are closer to, and more familiar with, their health care providers and patients, and therefore, should be able to make their own decisions about the best eligible Title X providers — whether those are hospitals, community health centers, or other types of providers. The Obama administration’s rule emboldened abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, empowered federal bureaucrats, and silenced our states in the process. Today’s action restores states’ rights over a Washington-knows-best mentality and ensures that states have the ability to identify the best eligible Title X sub-grantees.
Black said in a statement, “This is a historic victory for the pro-life community.”
“It has been an honor to work with Senator Ernst in this critical fight for life,” Black added:
I applaud my colleagues in Congress, as well as Vice President Pence, for advancing our life-affirming resolution to put the American people — not bureaucrats in Washington — back in the driver’s seat, empowering states like Tennessee to steer their Title X funds away from abortion-centric facilities like Planned Parenthood. With the passage of this legislation, Congress has rolled back the Obama Administration’s parting gift to the abortion industry and affirmed what the majority of Americans know to be true, that all life is sacred and worthy of our protection. By signing this legislation into law, President Trump is sending a strong message that the Trump Administration is a bold defender of life, and middle Tennesseans hear him loud and clear.
The bill passed when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.