Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration finalized a regulation defending funding for family planning providers, such as Planned Parenthood, through Title X of the Public Health Service Act.
The Public Health Service Act provides federal funds to family planning groups and women’s health services. Many anti-abortion Republican legislators have threatened to completely end federal funding for Planned Parenthood based solely off the fact that they provide abortion services, which are not paid for through federal funds due to the longstanding Hyde Amendment.
The finalized rule is meant to block legislators from cutting off federal funding to organizations that offer abortion services, ensuring they will continue to receive Title X funds for other health services including STI/STD testing, cancer screenings, and birth control access.
According to Planned Parenthood, around 1.5 million people are able to get the medical care they need as a result of the federal funds offered through Title X. The organization and family health care provider receives over $500 million in federal funding each year, most of which is used for low-income patients.
President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, issued a statement on Wednesday, applauding President Obama’s decision but recognizing the fight is far from over. Richards stated, “While the rule provides strong protections, it could face attacks in Congress or by a Health and Human Services secretary determined to undo these common-sense protections.”
President Obama’s action to protect organizations like Planned Parenthood is set to go into effect on January 18th, just two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration. Unfortunately, it is possible for Trump to overturn this finalized rule.