Women’s March in Los Angeles on January 21, 2017.

New Legislation Defunds Planned Parenthood

Breaking News: Today U.S. Women’s rights and healthcare policy took a huge step backwards. Thanks to new passing legislation, states are now allowed to withhold funding from health care organizations that perform abortions such as Planned Parenthood.

The bill passed earlier in the Senate with Vice President Mike Pence casting the last vote to break the 50–50 tie. Now the bill only awaits President Trump’s signature at the White House. This bill will reverse the policy under Obama’s administration that forbid states from blocking funding to birth control organizations.

Already this action in the White House has caused an explosion of popular debate and is seen as a major setback in providing equal healthcare for both men and women. In the past six years, a total of thirteen states tried blocking agencies who provide abortions from funding or providing services. Obama’s policy protected them. Most of the Senate voted on party lines.

Blue vs. Red

Republicans claim the measure put into effect under Obama protecting centers that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, limited state power and fueled federal power. They claim this bill will give the power back to states by giving individual states the right to decide if their local abortion providers receive federal funding. Democrats passionately disagree.

However, two Republican Senators broke with party to stand against this legislation.These were Susan Collins of Main and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Many are outspoken against the act, which will undoubtedly have massive repercussions for women in the United States. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, from New York, called it part of “the Republican war on women.”

Civil Unrest

Recent women’s marches all over the nation exemplified popular support for keeping health care organizations who provide abortions federally funded and protected. Over 4.2 million people in more than 600 cities across the United States participated in women’s marches in 2017 so far, according to data collected by Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver and Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut. Major cities like Washington D.C. and Los Angeles had the most protesters. Each city had over half a million people protesting at a time.

News channels, media outlets, and individuals in support of women’s rights objected loudly to President Trump’s values on women and gender equality.

This piece of legislation falls into place as something both President Trump and Vice President Pence publicly said they would pursue. Despite popular opinion, today’s Senate vote reverses the policy set up under Obama. The future path of health care policy in the U.S., as well as future funding for Planned Parenthood, appears dire. The cry that women deserve the same access to health care as men echoes across the country.

The #MakeHealthPrimary Journal is a Dress A Med publication.

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Julie Schultz

Julie Schultz

Assistant Digital Editor at Dress A Med headquarters in Los Angeles, CA.

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