The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Friday that it would revoke an Obama-era “legal guidance” that discouraged states from defunding organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that provide abortion services.
According to officials who spoke with Reuters, HHS will implement new regulations aimed at protecting health care workers’ civil rights based on religious and conscience objections.
HHS said the changes were necessary after years of the federal government forcing health care workers to provide services like abortion, euthanasia, and sterilization.
The Obama-era guidance restricted states’ ability “to take certain actions against family-planning providers that offer abortions,” according to a statement by HHS.
Medicaid is funded by both state and federal taxes. But under federal law, Medicaid is prohibited from funding abortion services. Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood receive funding for abortions from other sources.
Critics derided the HHS measure as the Trump administration’s latest effort to dismantle President Barack Obama’s legacy.
Friday’s HHS announcement coincided with the 45th annual “March for Life.” The event is held every year by pro-life protesters on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the country.