The battle for women’s rights took a hit last week when Ohio Republicans passed a bill that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, but the Obama Administration is stepping in to undo some of the potential damage before it happens.
Taking swift action less than two weeks after the passing of the controversial bill, President Obama signed off on a rule that will prohibit state and local governments from withholding Title X funding for health clinics that provide abortions. The Title X program in its entirety was established to ensure low-income residents or those without healthcare––specifically women––are still able to receive a host of necessary medical services like breast exams, pap smears, STD tests and basic infertility services. The program currently serves over 4 million people annually.
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The Obama Administration first proposed the amendment to the program in September and specifically outlined a clause that prevents lawmakers from excluding any healthcare provider from becoming a recipient of Title X funding for any reasons “other than its ability to provide Title X services,” according to the NY Times.
The rule will stand to provide significant protection for Planned Parenthood Clinics in the wake of Donald Trump’s vow to defund Planned Parenthood, which he stated multiple times during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Any decrease in Title X funds for Planned Parenthood stand to have a detrimental effect on the 1.5 million Americans who currently rely on the organization for their healthcare needs.
The rule is set to officially take effect on January 18, two days before the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.