It’s a major victory in our fight to defund the taxpayer-funded abortion industry, and a painful blow to Planned Parenthood. In fact, Planned Parenthood said “This is devastating.”
Despite the legal action of Planned Parenthood and a group of pro-abortion states to stop it, the new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that will in effect block millions of tax dollars under Title X from abortion providers goes into effect immediately.
The HHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives released a statement announcing that the Final Rule is effective as of July 15, 2019:
Earlier this year, district courts in California, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington issued preliminary injunctions preventing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enforcing the March 2019 Final Rule, titled Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements. Among other things, the Final Rule ensures statutory compliance with Section 1008 of Title X, which states, “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
Motions panels in the Fourth and Ninth Circuit stayed the injunctions, but plaintiffs in the Ninth Circuit cases filed motions for an administrative stay of the Ninth Circuit’s stay order. On July 11, 2019, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit denied those requests for an administrative stay and made clear that the order staying the injunctions remained in effect. By denying those motions, the en banc Ninth Circuit—along with the Fourth Circuit and a federal district court in Maine that recently denied another motion for a preliminary injunction—has made clear that HHS may begin enforcing the Final Rule. Consistent with those rulings, HHS shall now require compliance with the Final Rule . . . . All other requirements were set to take effect on May 3, 2019, but the prior preliminary injunctions, including two nationwide injunctions, prevented HHS from enforcing those provisions.
Compliance with the requirements of the Final Rule, except for the physical-separation requirements, is therefore required as of Monday, July 15, 2019.
The Title X Family Planning program is a federal grant program dedicated to providing low-income families and individuals with family planning and preventive health services. It was never intended to fund abortions in any way.
Yet, until now, Planned Parenthood has managed to get its hands on about $60 million dollars of Title X funding every year by convincing HHS to administer the program in a way that is inconsistent with the law. In fact, Planned Parenthood has accounted for as much as 41% of the services funded by Title X.
Last year, the Trump Administration announced a proposed rule to deny taxpayer funding for abortion clinics – like Planned Parenthood – that provide or refer for abortions.
The ACLJ filed public comments in support of this rule as a momentous step in defunding the taxpayer funded abortion on demand industry and freeing up funding for the healthcare services for which it was intended. As we said in our comments:
The ACLJ urges HHS to adopt the Rule in its entirety. It restores Title X to its proper and vital function as the only domestic federal program designed to provide low cost and efficient family planning services to low income families. Without the distraction of abortion in the form of referrals, promotion, and advocacy, and without the misuse of funds to support an abortion infrastructure, the Rule frees up resources to better aid women and families in deciding how to best plan for their futures.
We recently told you that HHS agreed, issuing its final rule revising the Title X family planning program, ensuring that recipients of grants are in full compliance with the statutory prohibition on funding to programs where abortion services are performed or referred for as a method of family planning.
More than 20 states’ attorneys general, and Planned Parenthood, filed lawsuits to stop the new rule. But as we recently discussed, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their request to impose an emergency stay, after it also temporally blocked injunctions ordered by lower courts in California, Oregon and Washington as the case is appealed.
The Trump Administration has now said the new HHS rule will go into effect immediately, denying millions in taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and any other abortionists or organizations that use abortion as part of their “family planning” solutions.
Planned Parenthood is reeling from the decision, with its official account tweeting that the ruling is “devastating.” Not nearly as devastating as its services were to almost 333,000 innocent babies it reported to have aborted last year. At the same time, it received federal tax dollars, including money through Title X.
Abortion is not family planning. It is destroying the fabric of American families and taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of defenseless unborn babies every year.
That money can now be used for lower-income families that actually need and deserve it.
We’re not finished. This is a victory, but it’s a drop in the bucket. Planned Parenthood receives over half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer funding every year. The ACLJ will continue to work toward the elimination of taxpayer supported abortion on demand, to defend the rights of pro-life professionals and counselors, and to fight to save defenseless babies.
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