(PresidentialWire.Com)- President Donald Trump and his administration can’t exclude the abortion industry from federal family planning funds after all.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals made that ruling this week, overturning a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision from February.
The law in question is the Protect Life Rule, which requires “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.” It also banned “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.”
Not surprisingly, lobbyists for the abortion industry filed multiple lawsuits in response to the Protect Life Rule. Planned Parenthood even went as far as withdrawing from Title X rather than comply with the new rules. The bill was projected to slash roughly $60 million from the $616 million total Planned Parenthood receives in the fiscal year.
The Protect Life Rule was announced in May 2018, but there have been legal battles regarding it ever since. In March 2019, the District of Columbia and 20 states filed a lawsuit against the rule in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon. The suit claimed it was a “gag rule” because it didn’t allow referrals for abortion as family planning.
Last June, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit lifted a temporary injunction against enforcing the rule. The full court then affirmed that decision in February of this year.
Judge Sandra Ikuta of the Ninth Circuit wrote the majority opinion in that case, stating “a counselor providing nondirective pregnancy counseling ‘may discuss abortion’ so long as ‘the counselor neither refers for, nor encourages abortion.’ There is no ‘gag’ on abortion counseling.”
The president of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, called those decisions “a vindication of President Trump’s pro-life policies and a victory for the American people.”
“Abortion is not ‘family planning,’ and a strong majority of Americans — including 42% of Independents and more than one-third of Democrats — oppose taxpayer funding of abortion,” she said.
But the Fourth Circuit court sided with U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett, who said “literally every major medical organization in the United States has opposed implementation of this rule. There is almost no professional support for its implementation.”
The federal government and pro-life supporters will most likely argue that the job of a judge is not to take into consideration whether a particular industry or sect of professionals agree or disagree with a law. Instead, they are only supposed to analyze whether the law does or doesn’t conform with the Constitution.
The Fourth Circuit’s decision means Maryland is the one state in the nation where the rule can’t take effect. But because there is a split among circuit court decisions, it’s possible that the Supreme Court eventually takes up the matter to resolve the dispute.
The details of the Protect Life Rule mandated that any organization that performs abortions must financially separate its abortion business from any other health care it offers if it wants to continue receiving family plann