President Trump Trump reverses Obama-era rule on Planned Parenthood funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed legislation Thursday erasing an Obama-era rule that barred states from withholding federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

The rule was finalized shortly before Obama left office in January.

The legislation squeezed narrowly through the Senate last month after Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

It was passed using an obscure measure called the Congressional Review Act, which lets lawmakers undo regulations enacted in the last months of the Obama administration with just a majority vote.

The nation’s largest business group is joining doctors, hospitals and insurers in asking President Donald Trump to preserve a key part of “Obamacare,” as his predecessor’s health care law is known.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been critical of many parts of the Obama-era law, signed on to a letter Wednesday that asks Trump to keep cost-sharing subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act. Those subsidies, totaling an estimated $7 billion this year, help lower deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes.

The letter — also signed by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and other groups — says the cost-sharing subsidies are critical for the stability of health insurance markets.

But all do not agree that this was a good idea.

NARAL communications director Kaylie Hanson Long criticized Mr. Trump for signing the measure in an event not open to cameras.

“[H]e knows how wildly unpopular his actions are,” Long said in a statement. And she added, “If you have to hide what you’re doing, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Women and families deserve better.”

Last week, Politico reported that the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump had requested a meeting with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. The pro-abortion group said that the purpose of the meeting was “to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded,” said Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens, as quoted by Politico. “The main thing that Cecile Richards was doing was explaining that the money doesn’t actually go to abortions — we get reimbursed the same way a hospital does. We were clearing up misinformation about how this works.