Announcement ends Obama-era policy that would punish states, comes on day of March for Life
The announcement came on the day of the 45th annual March for Life, at which President Trump delivered what was the first speech given at that event by any U.S. president. Previous presidents including George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan have addressed the march via phone call or videotaped message.
The move rescinds a guidance issued in 2016 by the Obama administration, which warned states that it would be against federal law to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers.
In a letter to state Medicaid directors, Assistant Health and Human Services secretary for public affairs Charmaine Yoest said that the move was part of an overall effort by the Trump administration to roll back pro-abortion policies.
“Reinstating the pre-2016 standards frees up states to once again decide for themselves what reasonable standards they use to protect Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries,” Yoest said, according to a report in The Hill.
“This is part of the Trump administration’s effort to roll back regulations the Obama administration put out to radically favor abortion,” she added.
The Obama administration issued its guidance after 10 states moved to defund Planned Parenthood following a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting and selling aborted fetal tissue.
In his speech, which was broadcast via satellite from the Rose Garden, Trump told the crowd, “Under my administration,” he continued, “we will always defend the very first right in the declaration of independence, and that is the right to life.”