On Friday, President Trump effectively stripped abortion giant Planned Parenthood of tens of millions of dollars of federal funding. Other health clinics that offer abortions were affected by the move as well.
The defunding came amid an effort by the president to overhaul the federal family planning program, something Democrat lawmakers are now looking to overturn.
“It’s not the all-out defunding of Planned Parenthood that the Republicans have long sought, but it’s unacceptable to Democrats with new authority over health care and federal spending,” Politico reports.
Democrats are already speaking up against the move and are looking to contest its implementation.
“I am committed to fighting the implementation of this rule,” said Democrat Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, chairwoman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee under the House Appropriations Committee.
“We’re in the majority now and we have a lot of people in key positions,” said Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu, who leads the contraception and family planning task force of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “We’re going to interject ourselves into the appropriations process.”
Here’s more, from the report:
But in the face of a divided government, both sides admit the next two years will largely be a fight to preserve the status quo and rally their bases on the divisive issue ahead of the 2020 election. While House Democrats publicly aspire to “systemically” reverse many abortion restrictions on the books, they say they’ll mainly focus on preventing Republicans from imposing new ones.
“Stopping things is going to be the priority,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “We have lived through two years of constant attacks on so many aspects of women’s health and economic security — on Planned Parenthood, Title X, the [Affordable Care Act]. Now that we have a Democratic House, we have a much better break on it.”
But when it comes to the new Title X rule, Democrats’ options to stop the administration are extremely limited.
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The rule will be challenged in court, and precedent is on the Trump administration’s side. The Supreme Court upheld similar funding restrictions in 1991, but they were never fully enacted before the Clinton administration rescinded them the following year.
In an op-ed with the Sentinel-Echo, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the reform came after he had requested the president to pull the funding.
“Last year, President Trump answered calls from my Senate Republican colleagues and me by taking steps to block federal family planning funds from organizations that make abortion referrals or use the same facilities as abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood,” The Kentucky Republican wrote.
In the Senate, I’m committed to supporting life, and I’m proud of my 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Under current law, the United States is one of just seven countries–including China and North Korea–to permit elective abortions after 20 weeks when the baby is able to feel pain. As Senate Majority Leader and a cosponsor of the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” I ensured our legislation received a vote. In addition, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life men and women participated in the March for Life, I scheduled a Senate vote to guarantee no taxpayer resources could fund abortions. Building upon existing law, it would explicitly provide that federal health-care facilities are not party to abortions and would increase transparency requirements when your tax dollars are involved. Sadly, Senate Democrats blocked both of these bills, making their opposition to protecting the unborn and defending the right of conscience abundantly clear.
When Sen. Sasse’s legislation to care for abortion survivors comes up for a vote, it’s my sincere hope that all of my Senate colleagues think seriously about their position and the precious children involved. I urge them to join me in sending a clear message that our country respects and values life.