9th Circuit Panel Full of CONSERVATIVE Judges Lets Abortion Defunding Stand

Seven of 11 randomly selected judges were appointed by Republicans, including two from Trump…

St. Louis Judge Blocks Scheduled Closure of Mo.’s Lone Abortion Clinic

Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis/Photo by pasa47 (CC)

(Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times) A federal appeals court refused Thursday to put a hold on President Donald Trump’s new rule denying funds to family planning clinics that make referrals for abortion.

The order by an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was a setback for Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups facing the loss of substantial federal subsidies.

For decades, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit has been notoriously liberal—and has been responsible for issuing many injunctions to block Trump’s executive actions on immigration, abortion and other key policy measures.

But Trump’s seven nominations on the 29-judge panel (with three more anticipated) have brought new ideological balance to the expansive appellate circuit, leaving an almost equal chance that those randomly selected will lean to the right in their judicial philosophy.

Last week, the court announced that a majority of active judges had voted to reconsider a three-judge panel’s decision in favor of Trump. Abortion rights activists expressed relief and hope they would eventually prevail.

But the order issued Thursday revealed that seven of the 11 judges randomly selected to reconsider the case were appointed by Republican presidents, including two chosen by Trump.

The remaining judges on the panel—four Clinton appointees—dissented. They would have blocked Trump’s rule from being enforced pending a final decision in the case.

It is unclear when the final decision might come, though the order says the panel will move “expeditiously.”

The new rule, announced earlier this year, requires recipients of family planning funds to refer pregnant women to a non-abortion prenatal care provider.

Planned Parenthood, which has said it would not comply with the rule, faces the loss of nearly $60 million in federal funds annually.

Under the rule, recipients of federal funds may give women a list of providers that includes doctors who perform abortions but may not direct them to those physicians.

The rule also requires providers to encourage patients to discuss their situation with their families and to tell single women about the benefits of abstinence.

Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.