Court Allows Trump Administration Rule Ending Funds to Abortion Providers to Proceed

An anti-abortion activist holds a model of a fetus during a protest outside of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 7, 2015. Protesters are demanding Republican lawmakers approve a bill banning all abotions after 20 weeks.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

A federal appeals court Thursday allowed the Trump administration to proceed with its rule that marks a clear boundary between abortion and family planning, even as the law continues to be challenged in the courts.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed its June 20 decision to stand though abortion rights promoters such as Planned Parenthood and its allies in 20 states sought an emergency stay, reported Reuters.

In February, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Protect Life 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.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, welcomed the news.

“Abortion is neither health care nor family planning and therefore should not be funded by the Title X program,” she said in a statement. “This regulation helps to get taxpayers out of the abortion business, without cutting resources for those in need, and is a victory for all Americans.”

When the rule was announced in February, Mancini observed it “protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program.”

Women in need can receive family planning services at federally qualified health centers (FQHC) – which outnumber abortion centers 20 to 1.

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

Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry refer to the Protect Life Rule as a “gag rule.”

As a result of the rule, 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 services offsite to an entirely different location.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen called the court’s decision to allow the Trump administration to block taxpayer funds from abortion providers like her own business “devastating news”:

Abortion industry lobbying group NARAL referred to the court’s decision as “absolutely gut wrenching”:

However, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said the court’s decision is “a victory for commonsense, life-affirming policy.”

“The Protect Life rule ensures that the people helping women plan for families are not misusing appointments to market abortions at taxpayer expense,” she explained. “Title X had become a marketing slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and the Trump Administration and the American people won today.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, welcomed the ruling that allows the Protect Life Rule go into effect while the lawsuit challenging it continues.

“This should remind us that the president is willing to do everything within the scope of his power to protect our taxpayer money from child killing,” he said in a statement. “As he has often said, President Trump answers to no special interest group. He works for the American people and the American people don’t want their tax money used for abortion.”

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

“This is another in a long list of reasons to work to re-elect President Trump in 2020,” Pavone added.

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