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President Trump walks away after speaking at the 47th March For Life rally on the National Mall, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday issued a "notice of violation" to California, threatening to cut the state's federal health care funding if it continues to require that insurance plans cover abortion.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services said the requirement violates a law that bans the federal government from giving funding to states or other entities that discriminate against health care providers that object to providing abortions.

Between the lines: The announcement was timed to coincide with President Trump's speech before anti-abortion activists at the March for Life rally, per AP. Trump is the first sitting president to speak at the event.

  • "Religious conservatives are a core element of Trump's political coalition, and his administration has gone out of its way to deliver on their demands," AP writes.

What they're saying:

"No one in America should be forced to pay for or cover other people’s abortions [...] We are putting California on notice that it must stop forcing people of good will to subsidize the taking of human life, not only because it's the moral thing to do, but because it's the law."
— Roger Severino, director of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, in a news release
"Women's health should never be dangled as bait for the sake of political grandstanding. Today, Donald Trump is using the official levers of government to advance his political agenda. Sound familiar? In California, we will continue to protect our families' access to healthcare, including women’s constitutional right to abortion. Nothing changes."
— California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in a news release

Go deeper ... Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws

Go deeper

58 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.