On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of the Trump administration’s planned restrictions on “family planning” clinics.
In effect, the Trump restrictions could block funding to clinics that provide abortion referrals and re-route the funds to ones that do not.
It’s a huge blow to Planned Parenthood’s funding, and a huge win for the Pro-Life community, who is celebrating the ruling on Twitter.
Check it out:
Politico has more details:
A federal appeals court this morning said the Trump administration's family planning rules can take effect nationwide while several lawsuits play out, delivering a major blow to Planned Parenthood and states challenging the overhaul.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Trump administration's request to lift national injunctionsordered by lower federal courts in Oregon and Washington state, as well as a statewide injunction in California.
A panel of three judges, all appointed by previous Republican presidents, said the administration will likely prevail in the legal battle over the Title X family planning program since the Supreme Court held up similar Reagan-era rules almost 30 years ago, though they were reversed by the Clinton administration before taking effect.
"Absent a stay, HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law, as well as the Government’s important policy interest in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions," the judges wrote in a 3-0 opinion.
Barring further court orders, the Trump administration can enforce a rule finalized this spring that strips federal Title X funding from any clinic that provides abortions or abortion referrals. The administration and anti-abortion movement have celebrated the rules for blocking tens of millions of federal dollars to Planned Parenthood, which serves a large portion of the 4 million low-income patients receiving family planning and health services through the program.
Provider groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have called this a "gag rule" and warned that it will interfere with sensitive conversations between doctors and patients.
For the first time in the Title X program's decades-long history, the new rules also allow funding to faith-based clinics opposing abortion and contraception and to promote "natural" family planning methods, including abstinence.
Nearly two dozen states, mostly led by Democrats, as well as provider and progressive advocacy groups, have filed numerous lawsuits to overturn these rules. Some states challenging the rule, including Oregon and Washington, have said they will withdraw from the Title X program if the new rules take effect, potentially forfeiting millions of dollars.
Some provisions, like the ban on abortion referrals, will take effect immediately, according to the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is challenging the rules. Others will be implemented next year, like the requirement for grant receipients to physically and financially separate abortion services and Title X-funded offerings.
States and advocacy groups on Thursday pledged to keep fighting the rules, though their next steps weren't immediately clear. A different panel of 9th Circuit judges is set to soon hear arguments on the merits of cases brought by states and groups, including the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.
The Los Angeles Times additionally said:
A federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday to lift three injunctions that barred the Trump administration from denying funds to family planning clinics that refer clients for abortions.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was a significant setback for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
The court said the 2019 Trump directive may be enforced pending appeal of orders by judges in California, Washington and Oregon blocking the new rule.
“Title X is a limited grant program focused on providing pre-pregnancy family planning services — it does not fund medical care for pregnant women,” the 9th Circuit said. “The Final Rule can reasonably be viewed as a choice to subsidize certain medical services and not others.”
The panel noted that the Title X family planning program was limited by similar abortion-related restrictions in the past, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld them.
Voting to put the injunctions on hold were 9th Circuit Judges Edward Leavy, a Reagan appointee, and Consuelo M. Callahan and Carlos T. Bea, both appointees of President George W. Bush.
The challengers are expected to ask a larger panel of the 9th Circuit to overturn Thursday’s decision. A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said lawyers were preparing an emergency petition.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling. The new rule, he said, was designed to promote a “backwards agenda” at the expense of women and their doctors.
“Now more than ever, in the face of escalating attacks on reproductive choice around the nation, women need and deserve full information about their rights and health,” Newsom said.
Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the court’s decision “devastating for the millions of people who rely on Title X health centers for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control and other critical primary and preventive care.”
Planned Parenthood has said it would be impossible for it to comply with the rule. The organization stands to lose nearly $60 million in annual funding.
The group said Thursday it had a “limited emergency fund” it would use to continue services while fighting the court’s decision.
What do you think?
Is this the first step in DEFUNDING Planned Parenthood?
Will Trump defund the organization during his time in presidency?