A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that taxpayer dollars can be used by federally funded family planning clinics to support abortion referrals. The decision follows a lawsuit launched by attorneys from 12 states who argued that Title X money cannot be used to support abortion.
Title X is a federal program that provides family planning services and is administered through the Office of Population Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2019, former President Donald Trump instituted the Protect Life Rule, which prevented family planning facilities that received Title X funding from providing abortion referrals. As a result of the new rule, abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood voluntarily withdrew from the Title X program.
Realistically, however, Planned Parenthood should not have been receiving Title X money due to numerous instances of abuse and fraud that should have disqualified them from the program. Abuses by the abortion giant have included racism and discrimination, a failure to comply with mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse, a failure to protect patient confidentiality, and many others.
In 2021, President Joe Biden immediately began the process of reversing the Protect Life Rule. The move immediately got the attention of attorneys across the country. In May 2021, a coalition representing 21 states sent a letter to President Biden advising him that using Title X funding for abortion referrals breaks the law.
More recently, a dozen attorneys led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio seeking to permanently reinstate the rule put into place in 2019 under the Trump Administration. In a statement, Yost commented, “You can’t ‘follow the money’ when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together. Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion — and that law means nothing if the federal money isn’t kept separate. That, frankly, is the real reason behind the rule.”
States involved in the lawsuit include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Not all states participate in Title X.
Ultimately, a panel of judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the states’ injunction request. They determined that the “states have not demonstrated that they will be irreparably harmed without the injunction.” Unfortunately, the states were unable to deter the new rule before federal grants start rolling out in March. The next step could be an appeal to the Supreme Court.
While funneling taxpayer dollars to any abortion organization, especially Planned Parenthood, is fraught with issues, pro-lifers have not lost hope. This year brings the possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned — a potentially historic moment for the pro-life movement.
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