- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

The House voted on Thursday to overturn a rule forbidding states from divesting taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood in what was President Obama’s parting gift to the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Issued by the Department of Health and Human Services shortly before Mr. Obama left office, the rule prohibited states from considering whether a clinic performs abortions in distributing Title X dollars, which are earmarked for family planning services.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the passage of H.J. Res. 43 is another sign that the former president’s legacy on abortion is being “dismantled.”

“Obama’s legacy of forcing Americans to finance the abortion industry is being steadily dismantled by our new pro-life President and the pro-life Congress,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement “We look forward to swift passage of this resolution in the Senate so that it can receive President Trump’s signature.”

The House voted 229 to 188 to overturn the rule in an effort spearheaded by Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, and Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican.

“Their leadership reflects the truth that women largely support stopping taxpayer funding of the abortion industry and redirecting funds to centers that offer real health care,” Ms. Dannenfelser said.

Pro-choice groups have argued that divesting taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood and reallocating them toward clinics that do not perform abortions will hurt women’s health.

But pointing to Planned Parenthood’s shoddy record on providing women’s health care, Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser for The Catholic Association, said the rule will actually help women receive services ranging from cancer screenings to prenatal care.

​”​We have seen that a needy woman is not able to get real care at Planned Parenthood​,” Ms. Christie said in a statement. “​The abortion giant offers no mammograms, no prenatal care, and ultrasounds only if the woman is there to get an abortion. Passing this resolution lets states fund the health clinics that are true lifelines for poor women.”

But Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said Republicans still have a lot of work to do when it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood.

“While this is merely taking back the small parting gift that President Obama left Planned Parenthood, the real prize is getting the Reconciliation bill passed by both Houses and signed by President Trump,” Ms. Hawkins said in a statement. “We are hopeful this bill is a step towards ultimately defunding the nation’s abortion giant.”

Willie Parker, board chairman for Physicians for Reproductive Health,​ said overturning the rule “could prevent millions of people across the country from getting the health care they need​.”

​”Where I practice in the South, many of my patients, their families, and their communities rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and other vital preventive care​,” Mr. Parker said in a statement.​ ​”​Planned Parenthood is the only way some of my patients can stay healthy.​”​

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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