Federal Appeals Court Blocks Trump’s Pro-Life Rule Defunding Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2020   |   10:12PM   |   Washington, DC

A federal appeals court has issued a ruling blocking enforcement of a pro-life rule instituted by President Donald Trump protecting Americans from having to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The rule shut down one of the many avenues for federal taxpayer funds that Planned Parenthood has accessed over the years.

Title X grants fund family planning services for low-income individuals and, to direct tax dollars to legitimate organizations and away from the Planned Parenthood abortion company, the Trump administration finalized a new rule that prohibits recipients from providing or promoting abortions.

The “Protect Life” rule requires Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to completely separate their abortion businesses from their taxpayer-funded services. That mean housing their family planning services in separate buildings with separate staff from their abortion businesses and a denial of funds if they fail to do so. Planned Parenthood refused to comply and lost its federal funding.

But the abortion giant, several states and the city of Baltimore sued to overturn the Trump rule.

After President Trump issued the rule abortion advocates filed multiple lawsuits against it and there has been a patchwork of rulings in the aftermath of those suits. Today’s ruling applies to the lawsuit Baltimore, Maryland filed against it and applies only to the state.

In crafting the restrictions, the Trump administration “failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country,” wrote Judge Stephanie Thacker of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court also said the administration “arbitrarily estimated” the cost to clinics of complying with the new rules, particularly the requirement that they construct a separate facility and maintain separate staff to divide their abortion and family planning services.

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The ruling applies just to Maryland, but it creates a split in the judiciary — the 9th Circuit previously allowed the funding restrictions to move forward. That makes it more likely the Supreme Court will take up challenges to the Trump rules.

The ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals comes after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rule and allowed the Trump administration to defund the abortion giant. With the conflicting rulings, the likelihood is increased that the Supreme Court will need to step in and resolve the legal conflict.

The rule doesn’t require doctors or nurses to withhold information. It merely prevents Planned Parenthood from promoting abortion using taxpayer funds.

The abortion chain sees about 1.5 million a year through Title X, and its services through the program, including cancer screenings, birth control, etc., have been dropping steadily for years, according to its own annual reports. Meanwhile, its abortion numbers have been growing – a clear indication of its true focus.

Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million a year through Title X. However, the first grant announcement under the new rule showed a $44 million cut to Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Planned Parenthood is choosing not to comply with the rule by making abortion its “core mission.” The abortion chain could continue to receive Title X funds if it stops aborting unborn babies or if it completely separates its abortion business from the real health care services it provides. But Planned Parenthood made it clear that it will not.

Meanwhile, community health centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthoods and provide far more comprehensive medical services to low-income and minority women across the country. They still have access to those funds, assuring that low-income individuals still will have a options for their medical needs.

What success the lawsuits will have remains uncertain. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar rule by 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.