President Barack Obama
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President Obama signed a rule that bars states from denying federal money to family planning organizations like Planned Parenthood

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December 15, 2016 03:06 PM

President Barack Obama is taking steps to protect family planning services like Planned Parenthood once he leaves office in January.

Obama, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, finalized a rule Wednesday that stops states from denying federal funds to clinics such as Planned Parenthood because they also provide abortions.

The measure will go into effect on Jan. 18, two days before President-Elect Donald Trump‘s inauguration. While Trump’s new administration will be able to overturn the regulation, they will need to propose and create a new rule to replace it — a process that took three months for the one just finalized — or they will need to get a joint resolution of disapproval from the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to the New York Times.

The ruling protects Title X funding, also called the Family Planning Program, which is designed to help low-income families and uninsured individuals receive reproductive health care like cervical cancer screenings, birth control and more.

Title X money cannot pay for abortions, in accordance with federal law.

“President Obama has cemented his legacy as a champion for women’s health,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said of the regulation. “This rule protects birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other health care for millions of people. Yet this fight is not over. We are deeply concerned about the future of health care access in this country with extremists like Mike Pence and Tom Price at the helm.”

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Trump said at the Feb. 13 Republican primary debate that although Planned Parenthood does do “wonderful things having to do with women’s health,” he would defund the non-profit organization because they also provide abortions.

He reiterated those comments at another debate on Feb. 25, adding, “Millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly.”

“And I wouldn’t fund it. I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I don’t know what percentage it is. They say it’s 3 percent. But I would defund it, because I’m pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.” He has also said that he plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortions.

Planned Parenthood said that Title X funding helps “approximately 1.5 million patients,” and that six out of 10 women who use family planning clinics “consider it their main source of health care.”

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