Barack Obama permanently protects Planned Parenthood funding

Services under the ‘Title X’ programme can no longer be withdrawn on political grounds

Barack Obama permanently protects Planned Parenthood funding

Picture by Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP/Press Association Images

Barack Obama has signed off on a new law protecting women's right to abortion and contraception services before leaving office.

The ‘Title X’ programme, which provides basic preventative healthcare for four million low-income earners in the US, looked to be threatened by the election of Donald Trump. Trump had previously expressed a desire to overturn Roe v Wade, which would outlaw abortion in the US.

The landmark ruling will block individual US states from stopping funds to Planned Parenthood, or any other family planning provider.

A non-profit organisation, Planned Parenthood partly uses grants to pay for contraceptives and health checks as well as cancer and STI screenings for low-earners in the US.

The service has been widely contested in some states, however, who oppose it on the grounds that some clinics provide abortion services – usually paid for by the patient.

Under the new rule, proposed by the US Department of Health and Human Services, funding can only be withheld to the service if the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries” is not done so “in an effective manner”.

Trump flip-flopped when it came to his stance on abortion throughout his presidential campaign. He's most recently adopted a pro-life stance, stating during his campaign that women who avail of abortions "will be punished".