A federal judge appointed by pro-abortion President Barack Obama plans to keep taxpayer funding flowing to Planned Parenthood by blocking a new pro-life rule from the Trump administration.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane of Oregon heard arguments in a lawsuit filed against the new Title X grant rule, Fox News reports. Pro-abortion attorneys general in 20 states and Washington, D.C. filed the lawsuit, arguing that the rule would hurt Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and violate the Affordable Care Act.
McShane said he plans to block the Trump administration from enforcing the rule, which takes effect May 3. He criticized the rule as a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy,” according to the Daily Beast.
“At the heart of this rule is an arrogant assumption that the government is better suited to direct women’s healthcare than their providers,” McShane said, Courthouse News Service reports. “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.”
The judge said he has not decided whether the injunction will apply to the whole nation, as the lawsuit requests, or to a more limited area.
Title X funds help low-income women and men receive birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and other health care services. While the tax money cannot be used to pay for abortions, it indirectly funds Planned Parenthood’s vast abortion business by about $60 million a year.
The new “Protect Life” rule prohibits Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses from receiving Title X tax dollars unless they completely separate their abortion practices from their taxpayer-funded services. That mean housing their family planning services in separate buildings with separate staff from their abortion businesses. Planned Parenthood already has said it will not comply.
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What success the lawsuits ultimately will have remains uncertain. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar rule from President Ronald Reagan’s administration in Rust v. Sullivan. However, because of the lengthy legal challenge, the rule never went into effect; pro-abortion President Bill Clinton eliminated the rule when he took office soon after the Supreme Court decision.
A recent Marist poll found that, by a double-digit margin, a majority of all Americans oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion (54 percent to 39 percent).
In late March, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its first Title X grant awards under the new policy, and Planned Parenthood received about $44 million less than it had in previous years.
Meanwhile, the pro-life Obria Group will receive $1.7 million a year in Title X grants to provide comprehensive family planning services to low-income individuals in California. Its services include pregnancy testing and counseling, prenatal care, HIV/AIDS testing, ultrasounds, cancer testing, well-woman care, pap smears, STD testing and treatment, adoption referral and post-abortion support, according to Townhall.