President-elect Donald Trump and his religious sidekick Mike Pence spent their campaign making clear that they would kill any federal funding for Planned Parenthood if they ended up taking office.
MIGHT HAVE BACKFIRED
But after all that boasting, which dated back to the early stages of the election, might have backfired. In a story which was under-reported at the time but now comes front and center, President Obama has already taken measures to intervene any measure by Trump or the Republican Congress to harm Planned Parenthood.
Detecting that the Republicans would try to defund Planned Parenthood if they ever gained greater power, President Obama took action back in September (PDF link to original filing). Only 3% of the group’s budget goes to services for abortion, and those costs are covered completely by private donations. The federal government provides major funding to Planned Parenthood, all of this going to other essential health services for single mothers, children and families. Trump and the Republicans have wanted to cut off all funding as a way of forcing Planned Parenthood to stop offering abortion.
By looking at Title X of the Public Health Service Act of 1970, President Obama suggested a new rule that would lawfully stop states from being able to remove any health care provider’s federal funding for any reason other than its ability to deliver services. This would make it difficult for states to pull the funding on Planned Parenthood due to abortion. The rule in question hasn’t gone into effect yet, as the Department of Health and Human Services must review public comments made on the agency’s website first. But assuming this rule goes into place prior to President Obama leaves office, Trump and the GOP will have a very hard legal time defunding Planned Parenthood at the federal or state level.