Trump Administration Moves Against California On Abortion


Shirley Huang, Staff Writer

Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators gathered for the annual March for Life on Jan. 24 at Washington D.C. in protest against the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize a woman’s right to abortion. 

President Donald Trump addressed the rally and the Trump administration announced plans to withhold health-care funding in California over insurance laws requiring private insurers to cover abortions. 

President Trump’s top health officials warned California to stop the alleged violation 30 days before but had failed to specify what funds they would pull or when they would act. These health officials claim that they are prepared to target other states with similar regulations.

“The far left is actively working to erase our God-given rights,” President Trump stated, adding that the left wanted to “silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life.”

California officials, however, have labeled the announcement a “cheap political” shot intended to win the support of the evangelical Christian base, a large group of voters who helped elect President Trump back in 2016. 

Roger Severino, the director of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights, cited the Weldon amendment, which is routinely used to argue that California is violating federal law, to defend the Trump administration. The amendment states that no funds “may be made available to a federal agency or program, or to a state or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to the threat, saying that it is only a political maneuver: “The Trump administration would rather rile up its base to score cheap political points and risk access to care for millions than do what’s right. California will continue to protect a woman’s right to choose, and we won’t back down from defending reproductive freedom for everybody — full stop.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra took to Twitter to reassure citizens that California would defend the law. “The President & VP are once again attacking women’s health in order to grandstand at today’s anti-choice rally. While it’s unfortunate that the President’s moral compass always points to sowing division for cheap political gain, California won’t be deterred.” 

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted from Dec. 20 to 30, 59% of the “1,215 adults… living in the [U.S., with] an oversample of women between the ages of 18-49,” reported that abortion should be legal and 79% trust that the decision be left to mothers and their doctors, rather than lawmakers. A majority also supports the law requiring women to wait 24 hours after meeting with a healthcare provider to proceed with an abortion. Doctors are also required to show and describe the images of their ultrasound to them.

The president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Alexis McGill Johnson, declared in a statement: “While Trump stands with the small number of Americans who want politicians to interfere with their personal health decisions, we’ll be standing with the nearly 80 percent of Americans who support abortion access. We will never stop fighting for all of the people in this country who need access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.”

During Trump’s presidency, the Department of Health and Human Services has adopted more conservative rules for the federal family planning program, one of which included denying clinics funding if they provided abortions. This was intended by Vice President Pence to eliminate Planned Parenthood, the largest recipient of those funds. But rather than comply, Planned Parenthood pulled out of the program entirely in support of a woman’s right to choose.


Photo courtesy of WSJ.COM