Over the past few days, the ACLJ has filed two appellate amicus briefs – one in Oregon and one in California – supporting the “Protect Life” federal regulations defunding Planned Parenthood. As we explained earlier the “Protect Life” regulations prohibit the use of Title X money “to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.” Title X is a federal program dedicated to providing preconception family planning services to the nation’s neediest citizens.
Planned Parenthood has used Title X funds to cross-subsidize its abortion clinics. The way it has worked is Planned Parenthood typically uses the same facilities to perform abortions and operate Title X programs. If a Title X patient comes in for family planning services and is diagnosed to be pregnant, Planned Parenthood can refer her for an abortion conveniently provided in the same building. Planned Parenthood has capitalized on this cozy and lucrative arrangement for decades, so it was most upset when, as we told you, Administration issued new federal regulations prohibiting abortion referrals and requiring that abortion facilities be physically separated from Title X clinics. No longer would Planned Parenthood be able to use federal funds to help pay the rent and utilities for its abortion clinics.
Planned Parenthood, joined by the pro-abortion American Medical Association and 21 pro-abortion states, challenged the “Protect Life Rule. Five separate lawsuits were filed in California, Oregon and Washington state. The ACLJ filed amicus briefs in Oregon and California, but all three of the leftist district courts struck down the regulations. The California court enjoined the regulations in California alone, but the Oregon and Washington courts issued a nationwide injunction.
The Protect Life regulations mirror regulations passed during President Reagan’s administration in 1988. Those regulations, which the ACLJ has supported, were also challenged by pro-abortion groups, but the Supreme Court of the United States upheld those regulations in Rust v. Sullivan. Rust v. Sullivan is still binding on all the lower courts today and in fact, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its central principles in several subsequent cases. But that did not matter to the Oregon, Washington and California district courts. All three courts essentially thumbed their nose at the Supreme Court and held that Rust did not apply.
The U.S. Department of Justice immediately appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the court consolidated the two Oregon cases and the two California cases. The ACLJ filed two amicus briefs pointing out just how wrong the district court decisions were. In both briefs, we argued that the District Court’s reasons for ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision in Rust were without merit. “Just as Appellees cannot prevent Congress from repealing Title X, they cannot coerce perpetual access to federal funds if they are unwilling to cooperate with the federal policy reflected in the Final Rule – favoring childbirth over abortion.”
“In Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991), the Supreme Court upheld HHS’s authority to promulgate regulations virtually identical to the [“Protect Life”] Rule. The district court was free to disagree, but it was not free to flout binding Supreme Court precedent.”
The ACLJ will continue its support of the government’s defense of the regulations, even if, as is likely, the case goes all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States. With your continuing support, the day will hopefully come when Planned Parenthood does not get another dime of taxpayer money to subsidize its abortion mills.
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