US President Donald Trump has privately signed legislation that removes Obama-era rules protecting tax-funded financing of family planning clinics that offer abortion.
The new law goes towards a long-held goal of defunding abortion held by Republicans, who passed the bill two weeks ago with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
The law does away with a rule brought in by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, that prevented states from withholding money distributed under a “Title X” program that funded Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortion.
Republicans say their stance upholds states’ rights. But opposition Democrats see the move as a “Republican war on women.”
Trump, who has signed several laws with a flourish in front of cameras but did this one behind closed doors, had in the past appeared to approve of Planned Parenthood, but not its abortion services.
He and Republicans are seeking to regain their legislative footing after suffering a resounding defeat last month in trying to repeal Obama’s health care law known as the Affordable Care Act, or, more popularly, as Obamacare.