Melania Trump
President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump Joe Raedle/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has rescinded a rule brought in during the last days of his predecessor, Barack Obama, which protected funding for Planned Parenthood services across the United States.

After Trump signed a bill into law on Thursday, states in the US will now be able to block federal money going to Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics which provide abortions. The rule had stated that states had to give out funding to qualified practitioners whether or not they provided abortions.

Republicans had attempted to defund Planned Parenthood in their replacement healthcare bill but that was pulled before a vote in a spectacular failure after a conservative wing of their own party refused to back it.

That may not be the end of it though, with Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows signalling that the majority of the group is ready to back a new bill should promises made by the White House come to fruition.

The bill that Trump signed on Thursday is the latest in a series of Obama-era rules that have been rolled back by Congress and the White House, including one that protected internet users from having their data sold by providers.

The bill to rescind the rule narrowly passed the Senate after Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote in his role as President of the Senate. Pence often touts his anti-abortion stance, including becoming the first sitting vice president to address the annual anti-abortion 'March For Life' in Washington, DC.

Planned Parenthood's Executive Vice President, Dawn Laguens, told CNN: "We are facing the worst political attack on women's health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women's health and rights at every turn."