The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, typically liberal-leaning in its rulings, came down July 11 on the side of President Trump and his ban on federal funds going to “family planning” facilities where abortions are performed.
In its 7-4 decision, the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of allowing the Trump administration’s Title X “Protect Life” rule to stand while a Planned Parenthood lawsuit against it makes its way through the courts.
Under Title X, enacted by President Richard Nixon in 1970, federal funds can be used for such medical procedures as screening for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. But with the addition of the “Protect Life” rule, which went into force in June, Title X funding may not be used to “perform, promote, refer to, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”
As reported by LifeNews.com, last month a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit “granted the Trump administration’s request to lift national injunctions [against the “Protect Life” rule] ordered by lower federal courts in Oregon and Washington State, as well as a statewide injunction in California. The panel said the Trump administration will likely prevail in the legal battle over the Title X family planning program since similar Reagan-era rules were upheld by the Supreme Court almost 30 years ago.”
Facing the loss of nearly $60 million in federal funding, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, filed suit to block implementation of the “Protect Life” measure, but with the 9th Circuit’s ruling it will remain active as the lawsuit moves forward.
The Los Angeles Times note that “seven of the 11 judges randomly selected to reconsider the case were appointed by Republican presidents, including two chosen by Trump.” The paper added that the four dissenting judges, all Clinton appointees, “would have blocked Trump’s rule from being enforced pending a final decision in the case.”
In a statement from Planned Parenthood, CEO Leana Wen said that the ruling represented “devastating news for the millions of people who rely on Title X,” adding that the abortion giant would “keep fighting to block this dangerous rule that allows the government to censor our doctors and nurses from doing their jobs.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a reliable supporter of unfettered abortion, complained that the pro-life funding ban represents President Trump’s “utter disdain for women’s health and women’s rights. This misguided ruling paves the way for politicians to deny women access to the basic preventive and primary health care that is their right.”
By contrast, national pro-life leader Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, applauded the 9th Circuit ruling, noting that “a strong majority of Americans have consistently voiced their opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion.... Without reducing Title X funding by a dime, 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.”
Similarly, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life expressed his joy “that the court sees the good sense in letting the president’s Protect Life Rule go into effect while the lawsuit against it unfolds. 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. 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.”
In an article appearing in the Washington Examiner, editorial writer Ryan Everson noted that while Planned Parenthood called the pro-life funding ban a “gag rule,” in actuality it is “faith-based health clinics that have long been ‘gagged’ from receiving Title X funds. According to Politico, this will be the first time Title X funds can be allocated to faith-based health centers that provide services similar to their secular counterparts. This is a great step in the right direction by the Trump administration. If the government is going to spend money helping low-income women, it should give that money to the organizations that will spend it most effectively, and such organizations surely include some religious ones.”
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