The measure nixes a rule from President Obama’s days that blocked states from defunding Planned Parenthood and other healthcare centers for political reasons, and could force clinics to close across the country.
The Obama-era rule barred states from blocking federal funding for family-planning services including birth control, fertility, pregnancy care and cancer screenings from health centers that also perform abortions.
The bill passed by the barest of margins in the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in late March.
Trump didn’t sign the bill in a public ceremony, but invited the heads of two of the largest anti-abortion groups in the country to join him for the signing: Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with Title X taxpayer dollars,” Dannenfelser said in public comments at the White House after the signing. “Rather, states have the option to spend money on comprehensive healthcare clinics that better serve women and girls.”
Democrats expressed outrage at the move, which allows states to cut funds needed to keep Planned Parenthood clinics open.
“Stripping millions of Americans of the critical health care services that Planned Parenthood provides doesn’t just hurt women — it hurts entire families and their economic security. This is just one more example of Donald Trump’s White House and this Republican Congress taking every single opportunity to chip away at women’s rights, and we won’t stand for it,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Shriock said in a statement.