Barack Obama is moving to protect funding for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from political attack.
The landmark ruling will block individual US states from stopping funds to Planned Parenthood, or any other family planning provider, as was threatened by President-elect Donald Trump.
A non-profit organisation, Planned Parenthood partly uses grants to pay for contraceptives and health checks as well as cancer and STI screenings for low-earners in the US.
The service has been widely contested in some states, however, who oppose it on the grounds that some clinics provide abortion services – usually paid for by the patient.
Under the new rule, proposed by the US Department of Health and Human Services, funding would only be withheld to the service if the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries” is not done so “in an effective manner”.
In effect, services under the “Title X” programme, which provides basic preventative healthcare for four million low-income earners, cannot be withdrawn due to political reasons.
This notion will be extended to protect the Planned Parenthood in all states, regardless of political and religious resistance.
Politicians in 11 US states have so far voted to block public funds from Planned Parenthood due to its abortion service. Campaigners argue that Title X does not allow public money to be used to pay for abortions, however.
Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, said: “This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives. Thanks to the Obama Administration, [low income] women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy.
“This rule makes it clear that politicians cannot ignore the law as they pursue their agenda to stop women from getting the care they need.”
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