President Obama bars states from defunding Planned Parenthood

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2015, file photo, Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women's access to reproductive health care on "National Pink Out Day'' at Los Angeles City Hall. With a deeper-than-ever split between Republicans and Democrats over abortion, activists on both sides of the debate foresee a 2016 presidential campaign in which the nominees tackle the volatile topic more aggressively than in past elections. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – With just weeks left in office, the Obama administration is barring states from denying federal family planning funds to organizations like Planned Parenthood that also perform abortions.

A final rule Wednesday from Health and Human Services says that states cannot deny funding to clinics for reasons unrelated to their ability to provide basic family planning services. Although abortion is a legal medical procedure, federal dollars cannot be used to pay for it, except in restricted circumstances.

The administration’s action was expected. Abortion opponents immediately said they will seek to reverse the rule under President-elect Donald Trump.

GOP opposition to Planned Parenthood intensified after activists released secretly recorded videos showing organization officials discussing fetal tissue donation. Several congressional investigations failed to reveal anything illegal.

The rule takes effect Jan. 18.

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