Maryland’s abortion industry is celebrating after a ruling from a federal judge exempted them from the Trump Administration’s new Title X requirements. U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett ruled on behalf of the city of Baltimore in their suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), challenging the rule that barred Title X affiliates from referring women for abortions.
In the ruling, Bennett wrote, “[T]his Court holds that the proposed rule as promulgated violates the Administrative Procedure Act in that it is arbitrary and capricious, being inadequately justified and objectively unreasonable.”
The Trump Administration’s new requirements for Title X recipients meant that funding could not go to any facilities where abortions are committed; the family planning services had to be financially and physically separate from abortions. Before the rule was instituted, funding received by such facilities was fungible; while these facilities have claimed that federal funding does not go towards abortion services, that federal funding supports the daily operations of the same centers and staff, which provide abortions on the same site. The video below explains the concept of fungibility:
According to Courthouse News, “Friday’s opinion did nix some of the city’s claims, but still blocked the entire rule from being implemented in Maryland and found the controversial section could not be severed from the whole policy.”
The abortion industry wasted no time praising Bennett’s decision, which could potentially encourage other pro-abortion lawmakers to follow suit in other states. Courthouse News reported that “[a]ccording to case filings, the so-called abortion gag rule impacts 16,000 patients in Baltimore as it limited access to over $1.4 million in clinic funding every year [emphasis added].”
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association President Clare Coleman also claimed the rule changes meant women would be without access to health care — which is false. “Title X was created to support patient access to high-quality, confidential family planning care and information,” she said in a statement. “But the Trump administration’s actions have left millions of patients across the country without access to the Title X-funded health care they need.” However, as previously noted by Dr. Michael J. New, the funding lost by facilities that did not qualify under the rule change was redirected to other facilities:
The Protect Life Rule does not cut any funds from family planning programs. Title X funds would still be available to thousands of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which offer a much wider range of health care services. Unlike Planned Parenthood clinics, for example, FQHCs offer mammograms. They also see far more prenatal patients and conduct more cervical cancer screenings.
Additionally, there are relatively few Planned Parenthood clinics in rural areas. As such, making these Title X funds available to Federally Qualified Health Care Centers will expand access to care for thousands of women.
Planned Parenthood of Maryland CEO Karen J. Nelson told Courthouse News, “We thank the court for recognizing the harm of the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule on Title X, which makes it harder for people with low incomes to get birth control and preventive care. Planned Parenthood is committed to providing honest, accurate, and complete medical information. It is an outrage that the Trump-Pence administration, through the gag rule, delivers Americans seeking health care something less.” (For facts on the dishonesty, inaccuracy, and medical misinformation actually offered by Planned Parenthood — especially when it comes to abortion — see here, here, here, here, and here.)
Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities chose to give up Title X funding because of the rule change and left the program rather than separate their abortion businesses from their meager health care services. That decision was not forced upon them by the Trump administration.
It’s expected that the HHS will appeal the ruling.
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