Court Says Government Can Bar Federal Funding From Planned Parenthood

( –  Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations were dealt a blow by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week when the court ruled the federal government could continue enforcing a rule that mandates recipients of federal planning funds separate themselves from abortion.

It’s called the Protect Life Rule, and it 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 bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.”

When the Protect Life Rule was initially instituted last February, cutting $60 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood, abortion activists filed lawsuits to stop it. Planned Parenthood itself decided that instead of complying with the rule, they would simply withdraw from Title X altogether.

A temporary injunction was issued against the Protect Life Rule last year, but a panel of three judges in the Ninth Circuit lifted it in June 2019. On Monday, the full Ninth Circuit court affirmed that panel’s decision.

Sandra Ikuta, the judge who wrote the opinion for the majority in the case, said similar lawsuits that have been brought in the three West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California “will not succeed” on their merits.

Not surprisingly, pro-abortion organizations, specifically the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, were not in agreement with the decision. They believe the Protect Life Rule, which they have dubbed the “gag rule,” is “unethical” and “dangerous.”

In a tweet sent Monday following the Ninth Circuit court’s decision, the PPA wrote:

“Today, a federal court upheld the Trump admin’s unethical, dangerous Title X gag rule — denying relief for patients across the country who depend on Planned Parenthood and other Title X providers for birth control and other care. Congress must reverse the gag rule. #ProtectX.”

Planned Parenthood and other organizations like them would have a tough hill to climb to reverse the Protect Life Rule through the Legislative Branch. They’d have somehow convince voters across the country to not only defeat Trump in his re-election bid in November, but also retain the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and re-establish a Democratic majority in the Senate.

These groups could hope that their lawsuits to stop the Protect Life Rule gain more success in higher levels of the U.S. federal court system, if higher courts decide to take the case. It’s likely they will continue their fight that way, as it’s their only real hope for a victory — no matter how slim that chance may be.

When Planned Parenthood had the $60 million cut from its federal funding last year, it lost almost 10% of the total it receives in federal funding. In the last fiscal year, the organization received a total of $616 million in federal funding.