by Thomas Valentine
The pro-life administration in history achieved a major — and perhaps surprising — victory in the most leftist circuit court in the country on Thursday.
In February, the Trump administration finalized a rule to cut off federal taxpayer funding under Title X from any facility that performs or promotes abortions. Any facility that does not cease performing or referring for abortions would have its Title X funding revoked. Planned Parenthood receives about $50-$60 million in taxpayer dollars annually from the Title X program, a fraction of the $400-$500 million in annual federal taxpayer funding they receive overall. But the amount is substantial, and they refuse to comply with the rule.
Pro-abortion groups immediately sued in favorable courts on the west coast. Individual federal judges in Oregon and Washington state issued nationwide injunctions, and a judge in California issued a statewide injunction.
The administration appealed the lower court injunctions to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most radically leftist of the federal appellate courts. But a three-judge panel from the court sided with the administration. The 3-0 ruling lifted all the injunctions because they said the administration is likely to ultimately prevail in the legal battle. The Trump administration rule is virtually identical to a Reagan administration rule that was upheld by the Supreme Court but never implemented. The judges also recognized the administration’s “important policy interest in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions.”
The administration is now free to begin implementing the rule. The prohibition on abortion referrals is expected to be put in place immediately, and the requirement to physically and financially separate abortion from Title X qualified services in order to receive funding is expected to go into effect next year.
The legal battle is not over, as the ruling merely allows the administration to implement the rule while the case is under litigation, and it could eventually reach the Supreme Court. But yesterday’s ruling is undoubtedly a significant win for the effort to end the flow of federal taxpayer dollars to abortion businesses.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0