President Trump’s repeal of Obamacare may have failed, but his administration’s assault on women’s reproductive rights marches ahead unabated. On Thursday, Trump signed legislation that allows states to block federal family planning money from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The legislation overturns a rule put into effect by former President Barack Obama shortly before he left office that prevented states from blocking such funds from flowing to abortion providers. The move is Trump’s latest step in rolling back Obama’s legacy. Trump’s signing of the measure came after Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate last month to send the legislation to the president’s desk.
Opponents of the measure and pro-choice advocates condemned the move as a hostile act toward women. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, criticized the White House and Congress for “enacting policies that take us backward” instead of working to enhance the progress her organization and others have made over the years. Indeed, Planned Parenthood provides an array of health and family planning services apart from abortion, and a report released earlier this year showed abortions in the U.S. have plummeted to a 43-year low.
Last week at the Women in the World Summit in New York, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards addressed the duress her group has been under recently, particularly since the election outcome — largely from men. “Frankly, if we had more members of Congress that could get pregnant,” she said, “we could quit fighting about Planned Parenthood.” She also noted that 50 percent of Trump supporters actually support Planned Parenthood. “Folks don’t come to us to make a political statement,” she said. “They come because they need access to affordable health care.”
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