Planned Parenthood says it's pulling out of the federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting participants from referring patients for abortions.
A US appeals court refused to block new rules Friday from the administration that prohibit clinics that receive federal funds from referring patients for abortions. That's a big blow to the nation's largest abortion provider.
Planned Parenthood has been in the Title X program for decades and has received almost $60 million from the program each year.
But the appeals court has now rejected a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and others to overturn the administration's new rules. The same panel of judges in July allowed the administration to go ahead with enforcement.
Planned Parenthood said last week it would withdraw from the program by the close of business on Monday, Aug. 19, unless the full 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco would halt the new rules.
Monday is the deadline set by the Department of Health and Human Services for participants in the family planning program to submit plans on how they would comply with the rules, which are set to take effect Sept. 18.
Planned Parenthood said the administration's new policy is "dangerous," amounting to a "gag rule" on clinicians.
In response, HHS spokeswoman Mia Heck said Planned Parenthood represents fewer than 400 of 4,000 service sites providing medical care to women around the country.
"To the extent that Planned Parenthood claims that it must make burdensome changes to comply with the final rule, it is actually choosing to place a higher priority on the ability to refer for abortion instead of continuing to receive federal funds to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods," Heck said in a statement.
About 4 million women are served nationwide under the federal program, which distributes $260 million in grants to clinics, most of which will continue to provide healthcare.
Pro-life groups are commending President Donald Trump for keeping his campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood.
Catherine Glenn Foster, the president of the pro-life organization Americans United for Life, is targeting Planned Parenthood's complaints about losing the funds.
"This will feed Planned Parenthood's reality distortion field that, despite being one of the most generously tax-funded nonprofits in America, it is somehow being attacked simply because the Department of Health and Human Services wishes to respect congressional intent," Foster said in a statement to The Christian Post. "And Congress was clear: Title X was never meant to fund abortions. The law is clear."
Planned Parenthood has pledged to keep its doors open despite the administration's policy. Other program participants unaffiliated with the abortion provider have warned they would leave the program as well.
Some pro-life groups are saying women will wonder why they ever thought they needed the abortion provider.
"Women across America are going to find out for themselves that they don't need Planned Parenthood after the nation's largest abortion vendor pulls out of a program that they never should have been in at all," said Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins in a statement.
Updated since the original publication date of 8/15/2019.
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