Court: Trump Admin Can Cut Planned Parenthood Family Planning Funding

Defund Planned Parenthood Juliet Williams:AP
Juliet Williams/AP

A federal appeals court held Thursday that the Trump administration’s rule that ends taxpayer family planning funding of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood may take effect.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Trump administration’s request to lift national injunctions, ordered in Oregon and Washington, and a statewide injunction in California, Politico reported.

The Protect Life Rule may take effect while court cases continue.

“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 February, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the new rule that could block about $60 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers who refer girls and women for abortions.

The new regulation, which governs Title X, the federal grant program that provides funding for family planning services, prohibits the use of the funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

As a result of the rule, which marks a clear line between abortion and family planning, Planned Parenthood and other abortion vendors who wish to continue to receive Title X family planning funds would have to either end their abortion services from all locations that receive the Title X funding, or move those abortion services offsite to an entirely different location.

The ruling was condemned by Planned Parenthood and comes as Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing Wednesday titled “Protecting Title X and Safeguarding Quality Family Planning Care.”

“Title X had become a marketing slush fund for Planned Parenthood, allowing it to sell birth control while making a pitch for abortion,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins. “Women seeking help planning their families should not be pressured into an abortion sale by profiteering vendors who don’t care what happens to both mother and child.”

Hawkins explained that the Protect Life Rule redirects some taxpayer funds away from abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood and to “full-service medical facilities” that provide more comprehensive care.

“Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion,” she said. “Real healthcare extends life; it doesn’t end it.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also celebrated the ruling.

“A strong majority of Americans have consistently voiced their opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion – it is even unpopular among Democrats and self-described pro-choice Americans,” she said. “The Protect Life Rule simply draws a bright line between abortion and family planning, stopping abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood from treating Title X as their private slush fund without reducing funding by a dime.”

A Marist poll released in January found 54 percent of Americans oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion, while 39 percent support it.

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