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Trump overturns rule that prohibits states from defunding Planned Parenthood

(Reuters/Yuri Gripas)U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, U.S., before traveling to Palm Beach, Florida for the Good Friday holiday/Easter weekend, April 13, 2017.

President Donald Trump has signed a bill into law to overturn an edict that prevents individual states from withholding funds from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.

Before leaving office, President Barack Obama ordered the Health and Human Services Department to finalize a regulation that prohibits states from withholding federal Title X family-planning funds from abortion providers, The Christian Post reported.

On Thursday, Trump signed HJ 43 to reverse the rule that has been labeled by critics as Obama's "parting gift" to the abortion industry.

The joint resolution was introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) in the House and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in the Senate using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to disapprove a new federal agency rule within 60 days of its passage.

HJ 43 is said to be the first pro-life legislation signed into law by Trump and the first pro-life bill that was successfully passed by the U.S. Senate in more than eight years.

The House voted 230–188 in favor of the legislation on Feb. 16. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence cast a vote in favor of the measure to break a 50–50 tie in the Senate after two Republican Senators joined Democrats to oppose it.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America and Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List were present at the bill signing in the White House.

"This week the pro-life movement had two huge victories: first, the swearing-in of Justice Gorsuch and now, President Trump will undo former President Obama's parting gift to the abortion industry," said Dannenfelser.

"The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars. Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive health care clinics that better serve women and girls," she added.

Planned Parenthood and its affiliates receive about 25 percent of all Title X grants. The organization receives around $500 million in federal funds each year, according to World.

The new law would allow states to withhold Title X money from organizations that perform abortions and prioritize non-abortion businesses.

While the Title X money does not technically fund abortions, pro-life advocates argue that it helps Planned Parenthood overall as the money is fungible.

Pro-life lawmakers commended the Trump administration for helping to ensure the passage of the resolution.

"By signing this legislation into law, President Trump is sending a strong message that the Trump administration is a bold defender of life," said Black in a statement.

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