President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill on Thursday that lets states choose to take away funding from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.
This bill undoes a rule set by Barack Obama that said states could not withhold money from health providers on the basis of the provision of abortions.
Obama's rule said that governments had to fund health services that provide contraceptives, pregnancy care and cervical cancer screenings. This was done under a thing called Title X.
Now, states have the option to choose to defund Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provide abortions.
To be clear about all of this, once again, federal funding does not go to abortions.
This has been the law since 1976, when the Hyde Amendment was first passed.
Federal funding to Planned Parenthood instead covers things like cancer screenings, contraceptives and HIV tests.
Moreover, abortion only accounts for 3 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides. Planned Parenthood is not the majority provider of abortions in the United States, independent clinics are.
Trump signed the bill privately, without cameras around.
Presumably, he was attempting to avoid yet another photographic fail full of white men.
Planned Parenthood is not pleased with this turn of events.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement,
Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being. We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backward. 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.
NARAL Pro-Choice America echoed this. Kaylie Hanson Long, national communications director, said in a statement,
It's a shame that despite the millions of Americans who rely on Title X for protection, President Trump is going to extraordinary lengths to control women and our reproductive freedom. If you have to hide what you're doing, then you probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
Women's health has been at risk since the election of Trump.
Planned Parenthood has been targeted repeatedly since January 20, despite a meeting with Ivanka Trump.
State representatives have also had to answer constituents as to why they want to defund Planned Parenthood, which is a popular organization.
This is not the first action Trump has signed that restricts funding toward pro-choice organizations. He also reinstated the "Global Gag Rule," which takes away funding from foreign aid organizations that talk about abortion.
(The United States already doesn't fund foreign aid organizations that provide abortions themselves, thanks to the Helms Amendment.)
Trump also defunded the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) because of its relation to abortions.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled abortion to be a legal right since Roe v. Wade in 1973, so Trump and other politicians can't directly make abortion illegal. But they can enact a lot of laws to make abortions -- and other forms of women's healthcare -- hard to get.
Citations: Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood law (CNN), Trump signs bill targeting funding for abortion providers (The Hill), Trump reinstated the global gag rule. It won't stop abortion, but it will make it less safe. (Vox), Citing Abortions In China, Trump Cuts Funds For U.N. Family Planning Agency (NPR)