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Ninth Circuit Upholds Trump Admin Rule Stripping Funding for Abortions

Ninth Circuit Upholds Trump Admin Rule Stripping Funding for Abortions

They “found that the rule is a ‘reasonable interpretation’ of Section 1008 of Title X, which forbids using Title X funds ‘in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.'”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court known for its liberal leanings, ruled today that President Donald Trump’s administration can withdraw Title X funding from clinics associated with abortions.

President Richard Nixon enacted Title X in 1970, which “is a federal program that funds family planning services for low-income and uninsured people.”

In 1988, Title X received regulations that stopped funding “programs that merely provided counseling or referrals for abortions for family-planning purposes.” The Supreme Court upheld that rule in 1991.

The regulations on Title X relaxed by 2000 until 2019 when “the Department of Health and Human Services adopted regulations similar to the 1988 rule – withdrawing funding from any medical facility that provides abortions, abortion counseling or abortion referrals.”

The court upheld the Trump rule, 7-4:

Writing for the majority, U.S. Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta, a George W. Bush appointee, found that the rule is a “reasonable interpretation” of Section 1008 of Title X, which forbids using Title X funds “in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

Ikuta and the majority found the rule consistent with the 1991 Supreme Court decision Rust v. Sullivan, which upheld a similar Reagan administration rule that forbade Title X-funded providers from advocating abortion.

“The Supreme Court has long made a distinction between regulations that impose burdens on health care providers and their clients and those that merely reflect Congress’s choice not to subsidize certain activities,” Ikuta wrote.

The Trump administration rule, enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services in March 2019, also requires government-funded clinics to refer women to prenatal care even if they plan to end their pregnancies and mandates clinics maintain physical and financial separation from centers that provide abortion services.

The majority also decided that Trump’s administration took into account access to Title X programs in rural areas. The judges cited “the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 2020 census citizenship question case last year” in their conclusion that the new rule “remained ‘within the bounds of reasoned decision making.'”

HHS spokeswoman Katie McKeogh said that the administration implemented the rule “to improve the health of women.” She explained that her department wants “to ensure the integrity of the program so that more women and men are provided services that help them consider and achieve both their short-term and long-term family planning needs.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Paez penned the dissent:

In a sharply worded dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Paez, a Bill Clinton appointee, accused the majority of ignoring the will of Congress, which has mandated Title X clinics provide “nondirective pregnancy counseling” to patients in annual appropriations bills since 1996.

“In vacating the district courts’ preliminary injunctions, the majority sanctions the agency’s gross overreach and puts its own policy preferences before the law,” Paez wrote. “Women and their families will suffer for it.”

Paaz called the rule’s impact on Title X-funded providers “Kafkaesque” and said doctors must “walk on eggshells” to avoid breaking the rule in certain situations, such as if a patient directly asks a doctor if she can get an abortion at a local hospital.

Those who joined the majority: U.S. Circuit Judges Edward Leavy (Reagan), Jay Bybee (G.W. Bush), Consuelo Callahan (G.W. Bush), Milan Smith Jr. (G.W. Bush), Eric D. Miller (Trump) and Kenneth K. Lee (Trump).

Those in the dissent: Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas and U.S. Circuit Judges Kim McClane Wardlaw, William Fletcher, and Paez (all appointed by President Clinton).

[Featured image via YouTube]


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If the rules ever wind up in the states again, the pro-abortion side will concentrate its arguments on the states instead of hoping for the federal courts to fix it.

Then whatever compromise gets the most votes will win.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to rhhardin. | February 25, 2020 at 9:15 am

    So like the Roman Emperor looking to the crowds to see if they live or die?

    This too shall not stand.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital. | February 25, 2020 at 10:06 am

      This will cut off Billion$ of funds from Planned Parenthood and the DEMS.

      They are so insistent on keeping abortion because they literally profit from selling the dead baby parts.

      I think you hate Democracy, Sir!!!

        Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | February 26, 2020 at 1:22 am

        No more so than the US constitution hates democracy. The constitution says there are things the people are simply not entitled to, no matter how strongly they support them. No state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, even if a state legislature unanimously passes a law allowing it.

        That says the government can’t kill babies; it doesn’t say the state has to prevent others from doing so. But the next clause says no state may deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, so if a state chooses (as all states do) to ban killing people it can’t limit that protection to people in a certain age range.

Packing the Courts works both ways. The 9th Circuit rewiring is close to being complete.

    Sally MJ in reply to tz. | February 25, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Appointing judges to open positions is not packing the courts, but rather adding additional judges of a certain perspective. FDR threatened to pack the Supreme Court, but he never did.

legacyrepublican | February 25, 2020 at 7:43 am

I know it is going to be appealed, but, I am so doing my happy dance right now!!! With a few shouts of joy too.

    This was an en banc panel – The only remaining appeal is to the Supreme court – which will decline the case since the opinion is consistent with the 1991 case.

    Need 4 to grant cert. Zero chance for Ginsburg & gang her gang of 4 to vote for cert, knowing that there are 5 votes to uphold the 9ths holding. The only way for Scotus to grant cert is if one of the 5 wants to solidify the 9th’s holding with a pro-life ruling.

Is this a New Ninth?

This won’t be warmly received here, but:

If abortion were banned nationwide, a flood of single-parent un-families begins. Not the pond we have now, but a flood like a broken dam.
Then, starting 19 years later, politics will be taken over by Democrats, activists, socialists and outright Communists, in a wave which will never recede. People who have no family will look to the government, they have no experience or idea of what a normal society means. Recall that Bernie freak with the guillotine T-shirt? There will be stadiums full of that, in every city. Are you sure that’s what God wants?

Be careful what you wish for.

    gonzotx in reply to beagleEar. | February 25, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Actually people may very well start using birthcontrol
    Right now they think abortion is a form of birthcontrol… it’s not, we know it is the end of a life.

      Katy L. Stamper in reply to gonzotx. | February 25, 2020 at 11:04 am

      Actually, reversing current divorce and paternity law would be a start.

      Women find it entirely too easy to beat men up in court.

      Katy L. Stamper in reply to gonzotx. | February 25, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Also, eliminating all incentives for people to be single to get government benefits or reducing or eliminating gov. benefits would help.

      Would have added advantage of Americans becoming interested in farm work again.

    There has already been great progress, which will need to be mitigated. Liberalism that has diverged too far. And, of course, people will need to lose their Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic religion. In short, adjustment of normalization that has spread in our society. In the meantime, yes, in order to overcome transhuman, trans-social orientations and both targeted and collateral damage, there will need to be special measures implemented.

    Milhouse in reply to beagleEar. | February 26, 2020 at 1:26 am

    It’s not a matter of what we wish for. If some Klan-like group were going around massacring black people, would the fact that almost all of them vote Democrat, so their deaths would benefit us politically, even come up in your consideration?! I certainly hope not. If we have the power to prevent the massacre we have no choice but to do so, and if that means we start losing elections so be it.

Katy L. Stamper | February 25, 2020 at 11:08 am

Read a sobering, insightful and on-point piece by Daniel Horowitz about why “conservative” judges will not solve our ills. I never thought about it quite like this before.

From his article:

Conservatives who think we can win the judicial supremacy game simply by appointing “better judges” need to remember just one thing: The ability of a good judge to do good is nowhere near the ability of a bad judge to do bad.

Well, what about a “conservative” Supreme Court? Wouldn’t conservative SCOTUS justices be fine with overturning Roe and Casey? The problem here is that conservatives will never even get a circuit split on this issue in order for a supposedly conservative Supreme Court to overturn it. Absent at least one circuit opinion siding with the red states on abortion laws, it’s very likely that no member of the high court other than Clarence Thomas would take the appeal from states like Mississippi. We see that even when there is a circuit split, some of the other GOP SCOTUS appointees are often reluctant to take up a critical case to overturn lower courts, much less when those decisions are built on past Supreme Court precedent.

This huge disparity between conservative and liberal lower court judges vividly shows why the judicial system is a one-way ratchet to the left and a dead-end street for conservatives the minute we agree to the premise that federal judges have the final say on political issues – and that court decisions are self-executing on the country and universally binding against the other branches.

Let’s contrast abortion with gay marriage, for an example of this dichotomy. Everyone is familiar with the 2015 Obergefell decision that created a constitutional right, forcing states to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages. However, few are familiar with the fact that in 1972, the court ruled unanimously against gay marriage in Baker v. Nelson. To my knowledge, Obergefell was the first time the Supreme Court ever reversed a prior unanimous decision. How can this be done? Well, liberal justices, unlike most conservative ones, are always willing to overturn long-standing precedent they disagree with.

But there’s a more peculiar question. How did we get to Obergefell, and how was the case teed up for the Supreme Court? How were the lower courts not bound by Baker? Well, nearly every single lower court ruled on the side of gay marriage. They couldn’t care less about precedent they disagree with, even if it’s from the Supreme Court. In fact, if not for the Sixth Circuit ruling with the state marriage laws, there wouldn’t have been even a single court upholding Supreme Court precedent!

Mitigating progress of the fifth choice, Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, not limited to the wicked solution (e.g. selective-child, cannibalized-child). Baby steps.

Lucifer Morningstar | February 25, 2020 at 11:44 am

In a sharply worded dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Paez, a Bill Clinton appointee, accused the majority of ignoring the will of Congress . . .

Oh wow, that’s hilarious. The courts have been ignoring the “will of Congress” for decades as long as it furthered the liberal, alt-left agenda. And now they have the nerve to whine about it because the court didn’t decide the case in their favor. What a bunch of hypocrites.

I’m glad to see my old friend Ed Leavy on the panel. Not at all surprised that he was in the majority. He was a great state and federal trial judge before his appointment to the 9th.