Court rules Trump admin. can stop abortion providers from taking family planning funds

A motorist passes a Planned Parenthood clinic on May 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. | Photo: Getty Images/Scott Olson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has again affirmed that a Trump administration rule barring abortion providers from receiving family planning funds under Title X can take effect.

In an order released Thursday, the Ninth Circuit voted 7-4 to reaffirm a three-judge panel decision made on June 20 lifting injunctions that blocked the new rule from being enforced.

“Until further order of the Court, no further briefing is required of the parties for the en banc court’s reconsideration of the three-judge panel order. The briefing schedule established for the merits appeal shall remain as originally ordered,” stated the order.

Planned Parenthood took to their Twitter account to denounce the order, calling it “devastating” and claiming that it will harm women’s health.

“The Ninth Circuit just refused to block the Title X gag rule, meaning it can go into effect and endanger birth control ... and other essential care for millions. This is devastating,” Planned Parenthood lamented. “Know that we won’t stop fighting for the millions of people who get care through Title X and we will not allow the government to censor our doctors and nurses from doing their jobs.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition 2019 Road To Majority Policy Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, on June 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias celebrated the order, saying in a statement released Thursday that she was grateful to President Donald Trump “for his continued leadership in protecting the most vulnerable among us.”

“Abortion is not family planning,” continued Tobias. “This rule draws a bright line between family planning and abortion.”

In February, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that they finalized a federal rule banning Title X funding of abortion as a means of family planning.

“Pursuant to congressional mandate, family participation is to be encouraged, particularly in services involving adolescents. And, from the start, Congress was clear that Title X funds cannot be used to support abortion,” the HHS reaffirmed earlier this year.

“This final rule ensures that grants and contracts awarded under this program fully comply with the statutory program integrity requirements, thereby fulfilling the purpose of Title X, so that more women and men can receive services that help them consider and achieve both their short-term and long-term family planning needs.”

Multiple lawsuits were filed in response, including ones by California, 21 other states plus the District of Columbia, and one by Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association.

In April, lower court rulings granted preliminary injunctions against the Final Rule, including one by U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian of Washington state.

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated the Final Rule likely violates the central purpose of Title X, which is to equalize access to comprehensive, evidence-based, and voluntary family planning,” ruled Judge Bastian.

Last month, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit granted HHS a stay against three preliminary injunctions issued by courts in California, Oregon, and Washington state.

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