Jan 24, 2020

Trump administration threatens to cut California health care funding over abortion law

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

Warren: A national law should protect abortion rights

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren firmly stated during the Democratic debate on Friday night that the United States cannot rely on the Supreme Court to protect abortion rights.

"I've lived in an America in which abortion was illegal. Rich women still got abortions, and that's what we have to remember about this. States are heading toward trying to ban abortion outright."

The economics of abortion

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The economic consequences of medical decisions can be enormous. One of the most financially momentous medical decisions that any doctor can make is to deny a woman an abortion.

Driving the news: A new NBER report looks at the difference in financial outcomes between women who narrowly qualified for abortions and those who narrowly didn't. The report finds "a large and persistent increase in financial distress" for the latter group.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020 - Health

Mississippi's six-week abortion ban struck down by three-judge panel

Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Mississippi's six-week abortion ban on Thursday, indicating the three-judge panel finds the law unconstitutional.

The state of play: The ruling upholds a lower court's May 2019 decision. The Fifth Circuit struck down a 15-week abortion ban in December passed in Mississippi last year.