A federal appeals court on June  20 said the Trump administration’s family planning rules can take effect nationwide while several lawsuits play out, delivering a major blow to Planned Parenthood and states challenging the overhaul.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Trump administration’s request to lift national injunctions ordered by lower federal courts in Oregon and Washington state, as well as a statewide injunction in California.

A panel of three judges, all appointed by previous Republican presidents, said the administration will likely prevail in the legal battle over the Title X family planning program since the Supreme Court held up similar Reagan-era rules almost 30 years ago, though they were reversed by the Clinton administration before taking effect.

“Absent a stay, HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law, as well as the Government’s important policy interest in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions,” the judges wrote in a 3-0 opinion.

Barring further court orders, the Trump administration can enforce a rule finalized this spring that strips federal Title X funding from any clinic that provides abortions or abortion referrals. The administration and anti-abortion movement have celebrated the rules for blocking tens of millions of federal dollars to Planned Parenthood, which serves a large portion of the 4 million low-income patients receiving family planning and health services through the program….

For the first time in the Title X program’s decades-long history, the new rules also allow funding to faith-based clinics opposing abortion and contraception and to promote “natural” family planning methods, including abstinence.

Nearly two dozen states, mostly led by Democrats, as well as provider and progressive advocacy groups, have filed numerous lawsuits to overturn these rules. Some states challenging the rule, including Oregon and Washington, have said they will withdraw from the Title X program if the new rules take effect, potentially forfeiting millions of dollars.

Some provisions, like the ban on abortion referrals, will take effect immediately, according to the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is challenging the rules. Others will be implemented next year, like the requirement for grant receipients to physically and financially separate abortion services and Title X-funded offerings.

– from a June 20 story on Politico


PHOTO: Planned Parenthood medical director Deborah Nucatola (screen shot of Center for Medical Progress video)