April 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction Thursday against the Trump administration’s rule that threatens to cut a tenth of Planned Parenthood’s federal tax funding by disqualifying abortion groups from family-planning funds.
In February, the administration finalized a rule that will require “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning,” ban “referral for abortion as a method of family planning,” eliminate a “requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral,” and require “more complete reporting by grantees about subrecipients and more clarity about informal partnerships with referral agencies.”
The move is projected to cut almost $60 million from the $563.8 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year, and redirect it to women’s health providers that aren’t involved in abortions. This has provoked intense anger among abortion supporters and lawsuits from 21 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association (AMA).
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian issued a nationwide injunction against the rule, which was set to take effect May 3, the Washington Post reports.
The rule “reverses long-standing positions of the Department without proper consideration of sound medical opinions and the economic and non-economic consequences,” wrote Bastian, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, and gives “no reasoned analysis” for changing the requirements.
He also claimed that the rule likely “creates unreasonable barriers for patients to obtain appropriate medical care; impedes timely access to health care services; interferes with communications regarding a full range of treatment options between the patient and their health care provider, restricts the ability of health care providers to provide full disclosure of all relevant information to patients,” and “violates the principles of informed consent and the ethical standards of health care professions.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not yet responded to the decision, but the Justice Department did. “A single district judge should not go beyond the parties before the court in an attempt to block executive branch actions. The Department of Justice's position is supported by long-standing Supreme Court precedent and should be upheld,” spokeswoman Kelly Laco said, CNN reports.
“Contrary to pro-abortion misinformation, the Protect Life Rule does not cut Title X funding by a single dime – it simply enforces the existing statute that draws a bright line of separation between abortion and family planning,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser explained in March. SBA went on to note that the rule “does not prohibit Title X providers from providing neutral, nondirective counseling about abortion”, and that “[s]imilar regulations were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan.”
Nevertheless, Bastian’s action comes just days after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane announced a more limited injunction against the Title X rule, which he called a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.''
“None of the Plaintiff States or their Title X provider networks are entitled to Title X funds if they are unwilling to cooperate with federal policy favoring childbirth over abortion by disassociating Title X projects from the abortion industry,” the pro-life American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) wrote in its amicus brief defending the Trump rule in Oregon and California. “And none of the Plaintiffs should be permitted to enlist the federal courts into commandeering continued access to federal taxpayer monies just because many Title X projects have been successfully promoting abortion as a method of family planning for almost two decades.”