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'Protect Life': 9th Circuit Upholds Trump Rule that Could Cost Planned Parenthood $60M

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In a 7-4 decision, the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court ruled Thursday in favor of allowing the Trump Administration to enforce the Title X rule banning taxpayer monies for facilities that perform or refer for abortions.  

The "Protect Life" rule stipulates that family planning and other government-funded services cannot be housed in the same facility where abortions are performed.  In its decision, the court rejected efforts by abortion supporters to stop the rule from going into effect while the merits of the case are litigated in other courts.

Title X funds are supposed to be used for family planning, cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and other services, particularly for low-income patients. The "Protect Life" rule forbids grant recipients from using the funds to "perform, promote, refer to, or support abortion as a method of family planning."  

In a statement, Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi blasted the ruling, "The Trump Administration's gag rule perfectly showcases their utter disdain for women's health and women's rights. This misguided ruling paves the way for politicians to deny women access to the basic preventive and primary health care that is their right..."

Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider and stands to lose as much as $60 million per year with this new rule, a fraction of the half billion it gets annually in federal funds. 

Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen called the ruling "devastating news for the millions of people who rely on Title X" and vowed her organization would continue its efforts to block "this dangerous rule," which she says "allows the government to censor our doctors and nurses from doing their jobs."

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias cheered the decision, "Abortion is not family planning. This rule draws a bright line between family planning and abortion."

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, took direct aim at Planned Parenthood, telling the Washington Times, "The Protect Life rule ensures that the people helping women plan for families are not misusing appointments to market abortions at taxpayer expense. Title X had become a marketing slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and the Trump Administration and the American people won" with this decision. 

The American Center of Law and Justice, which filed two amicus briefs in support of the "Protect Life" rule, called the Ninth Circuit's ruling a significant preliminary victory, but cautioned that "the fight is far from over," as the case will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.


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Deborah Bunting is a contributing writer for who has spent decades in the field of journalism, covering everything from politics to the role of the church in our world.