WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump signed H.J. Res 43 into law Thursday, granting states the right to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood and other women’s reproductive health providers.
The legislation officially erases the Title X Family Planning Program which provides family planning and other preventative health services to low income families and uninsured individuals, including those who are not eligible for Medicaid.
Title X was enacted in 1970 by former President Richard Nixon. Last year, former President Barack Obama passed a related rule forbidding states from withholding funding for Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations.
Obama’s rule was finalized in December, and went into effect in January. However, it was overturned in the Senate by a razor thin margin on March 30.
The adoption of H.J. Res 43 could be chalked up as a victory for the Trump administration. Though the president and fellow Republicans were unable to overturn the Affordable Care Act after a contentious battle in the House last month, with HJ Res 43 now law, they’ve achieve at least some of the goals they hoped to attain through the stymied Obamacare repeal.
Part of the ACA repeal would have blocked federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year.
Eric Scheidler, executive director for the non-profit Pro-Life Action League, applauded the signing of H.J. Res 43 into law, saying that the measure bodes well for tax payers and reinforces the notion of democracy.
“It’s a pro-life measure because it allows people’s desire not to see abortion providers given taxpayer funding to be expressed through policy and after all, we cherish our democracy and the taxpayers ought to have a say in where the money goes,” Scheidler said on Thursday.
On a fundamental level, he added, it boils down to the power of state’s rights.
“This is a federation of states and it’s just that individual states are now able to express the traditions, will and character of their people through different kinds of policies,” he said.
Calling HJ Res 43’s enactment an “encouraging step from the Trump administration,” Scheidler said the president’s latest move should clear up any confusion on whether or not the president is genuinely pro-life.
“Many people question it … but there’s one man in America that believes Trump is pro life and that is Donald Trump. He’s taking every step we wish [from the Global Gag Rule] to the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to seeking to defund Planned Parenthood,” Scheidler said. “That helps on a state level and it’s very encouraging for what’s to come.”
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, condemned the resolution’s passage on Thursday’s, saying that the latest reversal of an Obama era regulation would have a serious negative impact on four million people who depend on Title X programming.
“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example. 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,” she said.
Progress for women’s rights are moving backwards, Laguens added.
“We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backwards. Too many women still face barriers to health care, especially young women, women of color, those who live in rural areas and women with low incomes,” she said.
“Women marched in historic numbers the day after the inauguration because they feared the worst. Their worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn. That’s why women are the core of the resistance and have been organizing and speaking out since the day after the election. They know speaking up and speaking out can change the direction of this government,” Laguens said.