President Donald Trump signed legislation Thursday that allows states to withhold family planning funds to clinics that provide abortion, including Planned Parenthood.
The order overturns a regulation put into effect by President Barack Obama that said states couldn’t stop money meant for family planning services, the Associated Press reported.
Democrats and abortion rights advocates consider the new law a blow to women.
The Trump administration is “enacting policies that take us backward,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
But anti-abortion activists and Republicans welcomed the law, saying states can redirect dollars to organizations that won’t provide abortions.
The new law “simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the AP.
Seema Verma, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, was present at the signing in the Oval Office. She said Trump wants states to decide what’s best for them, according to news reports.
Under the old law, federal funds couldn’t be used for abortion, per se, but were permitted for providers of comprehensive health care — including contraception and pregnancy care — whether or not they also provided abortions.
This GOP victory comes after House Republicans withdrew a bill last month that would have repealed Obama’s landmark health legislation, the Affordable Care Act. Under that bill, which lacked enough support for passage, Planned Parenthood would have lost federal funding for a year.
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