Trump signs bill targeting funding for abortion providers

Trump signs bill targeting funding for abortion providers
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President Trump on Thursday signed a bill to nix an Obama-era rule that blocked states from defunding healthcare providers for political reasons.

The bill, which Democrats say is really an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, passed the Senate last month after Vice President Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote. 

Trump signed the measure behind closed doors in the Oval Office without media present. 

Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back the regulation, which former President Obama signed during his final months in office.

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Obama's rule required that state and local governments distribute federal Title X funding for services related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and cervical cancer screenings to health providers, regardless of whether they also perform abortions. 

Republicans argue that reversing the rule gives states the power to decide how they want to distribute Title X funding, while Democrats say it's just another push to hurt Planned Parenthood. 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, and Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, attended the bill signing. 

“Prioritizing funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive health care alternatives is a winning issue," Dannenfelser said in a statement. 

"We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life health care reform after the spring recess.”

The GOP's ObamaCare repeal plan includes defunding Planned Parenthood for a year by blocking Medicaid reimbursements to the organization. 

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens called Trump's action the "latest example" of politicians making it harder for people to access healthcare. 

"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.

"Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being." 

— Jordan Fabian contributed