‘Title X is a limited grant program…it does not fund medical care for pregnant women…’
(Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times) A federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday to lift three injunctions that barred the Trump administration from denying funds to family planning clinics that refer clients for abortions.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the 2019 Trump directive may be enforced pending appeal of orders by judges in California, Washington and Oregon blocking restriction.
The panel said the Title X program previously was limited by similar restrictions, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld.
“Title X is a limited grant program focused on providing pre-pregnancy family planning services — it does not fund medical care for pregnant women,” the 9th Circuit said. “The Final Rule can reasonably be viewed as a choice to subsidize certain medical services and not others.”
Voting to lift the injunctions were 9th Circuit Judges Edward Leavy, a Reagan appointee, and Consuelo M. Callahan and Carlos T. Bea, both appointees of President George W. Bush.
“It’s a shame that the federal Title X family planning program has been co-mingled with abortion ever since President Bill Clinton issued regulations not only removing the barrier of separation President Reagan put in place, but even illegally requiring groups to refer for abortion,” said Travis Weber, vice president for policy for the Family Research Council.
“The result is that Planned Parenthood — an organization that’s been under investigation for selling baby body parts — gets roughly $60 million per year through what has become a slush fund for the abortion giant.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Thursday’s decision “risks access to critical reproductive health care for millions of Americans.”
“This ruling allows the Trump-Pence administration to prohibit doctors and other medical providers from giving factual, unbiased information to patients,” Becerra said.
Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, called the court’s ruling “devastating for the millions of people who rely on Title X health centers for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control and other critical primary and preventive care.”
Planned Parenthood must either comply with the rules or lose millions of dollars in funding.
The organization said Thursday it had a “limited emergency fund” it will use to continue services while fighting the court’s decision.
“The Protect Life Rule will prevent organizations like the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, from funding their abortion activities through the Title X program,” said Denise Harle, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. “Planned Parenthood has covered up the sexual abuse of young girls and has been investigated for waste, abuse, and potential fraud. Because of these failures, it doesn’t deserve taxpayer dollars.”
The prohibition on abortion referrals will take effect immediately.
A requirement that providers keep their Title X-funded projects physically and financially separate from abortion services is slated to take effect in March 2020.
The new rule also requires providers to extol the virtues of abstinence to single women.
About 4 million mostly low-income people receive services under the family planning law — 1 million of them in California.
Title X was signed into law by former President Nixon.
It has always prohibited using program funds for abortions, although abortion providers receive federal money for other services.
©2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.