Since the election results were announced, there has been widespread fear that Donald Trump would move to restrict women's access to preventative care (i.e. birth control, screenings for cervical cancer, mammograms, breast pumps, newborn care, etc.). Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to cover the cost of approved forms of birth control. However, Trump has expressed a desire to overturn the Affordable Care Act, causing many women to fear for their reproductive health rights.
The Obama Administration has taken executive action to protect women's access to quality healthcare. The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that would prevent states from withholding Title X federal family planning money from recipients apart from any other reason than the provider's “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” Basically, states cannot cut funding for Planned Parenthood or similar clinics on the sole basis that they provide abortion services.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, has expressed her gratitude for Obama's efforts. “Thanks to the Obama administration, women will still be able to access the birth control they need to plan their families, and the cancer screenings they need to stay healthy. This will make a real difference in so many people’s lives.”
Title X provides basic family planning and health care services for over 4 million low-income Americans. Planned Parenthood uses the funding it receives from Title X to serve around a third of those patients, assisting them with everything from cancer screenings to subsidized contraceptives. Title X funding does not cover abortion services. Abortions only make up about three percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides.
One of the issues facing Republicans in their quest to defund Planned Parenthood is that the family planning provider is a major force in the fight against the Zika virus. This is problematic, because many of the states that have been considered high-risk for transmitting the Zika virus, like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, have voted to block funding for Planned Parenthood, who has been in distributing Zika education and prevention kits in afflicted neighborhoods.
The Obama Administration's proposed rule has not yet gone into effect. The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing public comments regarding the proposal.
Read the full proposal here.