Planned Parenthood could lose up to $60 million in funding after a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Trump administration’s “gag rule,” making access more difficult for women seeking abortions, could go into effect.
The new rules ban family planning clinics funded with taxpayer dollars – such as Planned Parenthood – from referring women for abortions. Many clinics say the new rules would force them to open new offices or do expensive building remodels to stay in business.
The lower court cases that blocked the new rules from taking effect were filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane, as well as Oregon and California.
The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit determined the Title X gag rules were “reasonable” and adhere to federal law prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being spent on “programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” Title X is a 1970 law to expand access to family planning and other health care needs.
While taxpayer dollars are prohibited from paying for abortions except in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of the pregnant woman, abortion opponents contend Title X is indirectly used to subsidize abortion providers.
While the new rules would permit clinic staff to discuss abortion with clients, they would no longer be required to do so. If patients ask for an abortion referral, staff would be required to give a list of primary care providers with no indication as to which provide abortions.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson vowed to swiftly challenge the decision, which he expects to be reversed.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to pass a spending bill that reverses the gag rule and increases Title X funding. (Spokesman-Review, AP)