On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave a huge pro-life victory to President Trump’s administration, permitting them to enforce a rule stripping federal Title X funding from any clinic that provides abortions or abortion referrals, which means Planned Parenthood could be out as much as $60 million.
The Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Department had issued a rule in which abortion providers who receive federal Title X funding could not refer women for abortions. That rule, titled “Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements” and nicknamed the “Protect Life Rule,” was summarized by HHS as follows:
The Office of Population Affairs (OPA), in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, issues this final rule to revise the regulations that govern the Title X family planning program (authorized by Title X of the Public Health Service Act) to ensure compliance with, and enhance implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning and related statutory requirements. Accordingly, OPA amends the Title X regulations to clarify grantee responsibilities under Title X, to remove the requirement for nondirective abortion counseling and referral, to prohibit referral for abortion, and to clarify compliance obligations with state and local laws. In addition, Title X regulations are amended to clarify access to family planning services where an employer exercises a religious or moral objection. Finally, Title X regulations are amended to require physical and financial separation to ensure clarity regarding the purpose of Title X and compliance with statutory program integrity provisions, and to encourage family participation in family planning decisions, as required by Federal law.
The Washington Examiner noted, “The decision means that clinics that receive federal family planning grants called Title X — which pay for birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer screenings — will not be allowed to be housed in the same buildings as those that also provide abortions. The rules prohibit doctors who receive the funds from directly referring patients to abortions, leading critics to refer to it as a ‘gag rule.’"
As The Hill noted, “The rule was supposed to take effect May 3, but three lower courts issued injunctions, each of which the administration appealed.” The court ruling on Thursday stated, “Absent a stay, HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law.”
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said when the rule was finalized in February:
We thank President Trump for taking decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood. The Protect Life Rule does not cut family planning funding by a single dime, and instead directs tax dollars to entities that provide healthcare to women but do not perform abortions. The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives almost $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars. We thank President Trump and Secretary Azar for ensuring that the Title X program is truly about funding family planning, not abortion.
Politico noted on Thursday, “Planned Parenthood, which supports the right of women to obtain abortions, said in a statement it will seek emergency relief from Thursday's order …”