Obama's New Bill Will Stop Anti-Choice Politicians From Defunding Planned Parenthood

This article was originally published at Revelist.

President Obama has proposed a new bill that will protect Planned Parenthood long after he's left office. The rule would stop anti-choice legislators from defunding any women's healthcare organization for political reasons. The Department of Health and Human Services drafted the proposal last week.

The Obama administration argues that stripping federal funding from healthcare organizations is a violation of Title X, the family-planning amendment that provides federal dollars for everything from STI testing to contraceptives. Title X doesn't cover abortions, according to the National Abortion Federation. However, some pro-life politicians have defunded Planned Parenthood based on the idea that providing abortions in any capacity violates Title X.

"In at least several instances, this has led to disruption of services or reduction of services," the proposed legislation stated.

The proposed bill states that healthcare organizations can only be defunded if their "ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner" is compromised.

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photo: Flickr/Charlotte Cooper/2.0

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement that this is an important step for securing reproductive rights.

"This will make a real difference in so many people's lives," she said. 

"The Obama administration is protecting access to health care for millions of people. Women in nearly half the states in this country have faced political attacks on cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic care. This rule makes it clear that politicians cannot ignore the law as they pursue their agenda to stop women from getting the care they need."

Fourteen states, including Ohio, Texas, and Missouri, have passed legislation that positions Title X in a way that blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving funding. In fact, Ohio governor John Kasichsigned a bill in February that removed $1.3 million from Planned Parenthood.

These legislations have an impact on women, especially those who are low-income: Title X serves 4 million Americans, 85% of whom make below $23,000. Planned Parenthood uses about $70 million from Title X to assist about 85% of that population with contraceptives and preventative cancer screenings.

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photo: Flickr/Lorie Shaull/2.0

Despite this, some conservative politicians are committed to battling Obama's latest proposal. Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black called the rule a "stunt."

"This latest stunt from president Obama's Department of Health and Human Services should surprise absolutely no one," Black said in a statement. "We’ve known all along that the Obama administration will go to untold lengths to protect its friends in the big abortion industry."

After a 30-day commenting period, the rule may become law.

"This rule makes it clear that politicians cannot ignore the law as they pursue their agenda to stop women from getting the care they need," Richards said.


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