House votes to repeal Obama rule that prohibits states from defunding Planned Parenthood

A closed Planned Parenthood facility is seen in Westminster, Colorado, September 9, 2015. | Reuters/Rick Wilking

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to overturn President Barack Obama's HHS rule that prohibits states from withholding funds from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.

The House voted 230–188, in favor of H.J. Res. 43 which seeks to repeal the HHS rule. Two Democrats and 227 Republicans voted to support it, while two Republicans and 186 Democrats voted against it, Life News reported.

The rule, which was issued by Obama just days before he left office, barred states from blocking Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving Title X funding, which is dedicated to family planning services. The resolution would allow states to direct Title X grants to any kind of health center they wish, according to World.

House Democrats asserted that the vote for resolution specifically targeted Planned Parenthood.

"Let's be real clear: this is not about Planned Parenthood and abortion because we already know that Planned Parenthood gets no funding for abortions in this country," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on the House floor, as reported by Stream. "What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are willing to say is 'we just want to make sure Planned Parenthood doesn't get a dime,'" she added.

Pro-life lawmakers claimed that the resolution was not about defunding Planned Parenthood, but rather giving the states the right to fund the kind of care that they prefer.

"We are simply voting today to affirm the rights of states to fund healthcare providers that best suit their needs without fear of reprisal from their own federal government," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn), the lead sponsor of the resolution.

Under the HHS rule, the states which chose to withhold the funds away from Planned Parenthood risk losing Title X grants altogether.

"This is the definition of coercion," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J), on the House floor on Thursday. "The Obama administration essentially told states, 'You must use your family planning dollars to support abortion providers, or we will take away your family planning dollars,'" he continued.

The resolution is now headed to the Senate where it needs 51 votes to pass. The Republicans currently hold a 52–48 majority in the upper chamber.

Title X grants only make up about 10 percent of federal family-planning spending while Medicaid reimbursements make up 75 percent of federal spending on the said services.

Republicans have stated plans to withdraw federal funding for Planned Parenthood entirely through the repeal of Obamacare, which will address Medicaid funding.