Judge to Block Trump Admin Policy Barring Use of Family Planning Funds for Abortion Providers

abortion clinic
AP Photo/Eric Gay

A federal judge said Tuesday he will block the Trump administration’s policy that creates a clear line between abortion and family planning.

Judge Michael J. McShane, of U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, called the policy a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy, one that emphasizes a political issue over Title X’s stated goal of reducing unintended pregnancies,” reported Courthouse News Service.

The new rule would block about $60 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides and refers for abortions.

Oregon, 19 other states, and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration in March over the new rule that governs Title X, the federal grant program that provides funding for family planning services. The rule reinstates President Ronald Reagan’s “Protect Life Rule,” which bars the “co-location” of federally funded family planning clinics and abortion clinics.

An appointee of former President Barack Obama, McShane said, “At the heart of this rule is an arrogant assumption that the government is better suited to direct women’s healthcare than their providers.”

“The final rule would create such a financial strain on medical providers that, ironically, it would create a vacuum that would create substantially more abortions,” he added.

The judge said he would still decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction just to the 20 states in the current lawsuit.

“This is an important victory for every single one of you who spoke up, showed up, and donated,” said Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen in a fundraising email letter.

Planned Parenthood, which profits from abortions, and the American Medical Association also joined in the lawsuit against the Trump administration’s rule, which they refer to as a “gag rule.”

The new regulation prohibits the use of the funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

However, according to the rule, Planned Parenthood and other abortion vendors who wish to continue to receive Title X family planning funds may do so if they choose either to end their abortion services from all locations that receive the Title X funding or move those abortion services offsite to an entirely different location.

While the abortion lobby claims the Trump administration’s rule will create a negative impact on low-income individuals, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said the new rule actually protects individuals at or near the poverty level.

“[The] new regulation protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program,” she said, observing that women in need can receive family planning services at federally qualified health centers (FQHC), which outnumber abortion centers 20 to one.

“At FQHCs women benefit from better regulatory oversight, a wider range of services, and more life-affirming options,” she said. “The new Title X regulations are a win-win for all Americans.”


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