President Donald Trump signed a resolution Thursday that overturns former President Barack Obama’s rule that forced states to provide family planning grants under Title X to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
In a signing ceremony that was closed to the press, Trump signed H.J. Res. 43, which allows states to withhold federal funds from facilities that provide abortions. In attendance were Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma, Susan B. Anthony president Marjorie Dannenfelser, and Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America.
“Prioritizing funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive healthcare alternatives is a winning issue,” said Dannenfelser, reports the Washington Examiner. “We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life healthcare reform after the spring break recess.”
“I think the president’s signature today is an important step and it shows that the president is keeping his campaign promises,” Verma said. “This shows that we want states to be in charge of their own decision making.”
Planned Parenthood tweeted its disapproval of the measure:
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) April 13, 2017
The House approved H.J. Res. 43, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), in February. The resolution used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the Obama administration rule, enacted during the last days of the former president’s term.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) sponsored the measure in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote at the end of March to enable approval in that chamber after Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against it.
In a floor speech in the House, Black said the purpose of the resolution is to “affirm the right of states to fund the healthcare providers that best suit their needs, without fear of reprisal from their own federal government.”
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S., performing at least 300,000 abortions every year.
About a dozen states have attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s funding in the wake of the release of videos that alleged the group harvests the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics and sells them for profit. These states have attempted to redirect the funding to other community healthcare centers, which provide more expansive services than Planned Parenthood and outnumber the abortion chain by at least 20 to 1.
Despite the overwhelming number of community healthcare centers, however, the Obama administration, an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, said that by redirecting funding away from the group, the states “have interfered with” low-income individuals’ ability to access federal assistance quickly.
The Heritage Foundation’s Melanie Israel wrote at The Daily Signal the resolution was necessary “to both protect life and reassert that the states have Tenth Amendment rights to allocate Title X family planning grants in such a manner that prioritizes community health clinics and true family planning over the industrial abortion industry as represented by Planned Parenthood.”
“The HHS rule is a classic example of excessive federal rulemaking and executive overreach for partisan political gain, making it a perfect target for nullification under the CRA,” she added.