Judge Blocks HHS Rule Barring Abortion Facilities and Referral Sites From Federal Family Planning Funding

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YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington State has blocked new Title X family planning funding rules that would disqualify abortion facilities, such as those run by Planned Parenthood, from receiving federal funds, as well as any locations that promote, support or refer for abortions.

According to reports, U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian, nominated to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, issued the preliminary injunction against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday, stating, “There is no public interest in perpetuating unlawful agency action.”

The rule change “reverses long-standing positions of the Department without proper consideration of sound medical opinions and the economic and non-economic consequences,” he opined, according to the Washington Post.

Bastian also asserted that the requirement “creates unreasonable barriers for patients to obtain appropriate medical care” and “interferes with communications regarding a full range of treatment options between the patient and their health care provider.”

As previously reported, the changes announced by HHS in March revert to the 1988 standard under the Reagan administration that disqualified family planning organizations from receiving Title X funds if abortions are performed in the same building where contraceptives and other family planning services are offered.

Abortion providers would either have to divide their services into two separate physical locations, or lose funding.

“This rule will require Title X providers to maintain physical and financial separation from locations which provide abortion as a method of family planning,” a document released by HHS outlined.

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“This physical and financial separation will ensure compliance with the statutory requirement that Title X funding not support programs where abortion is a method of family planning—and is consistent with the plain text of Section 1008, legislative history, and case law,” it stated.

The rule change would also remove a requirement under the Clinton administration to refer for abortions. However, not only would recipients now not be mandated to refer, but they would be completely prohibited from doing so. Title X grantees also may not “perform, promote, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

HHS explained that it does not believe that the Clinton-era rule is “appropriate or permissible.”

“[T]he department believes the referral requirement is in conflict with federal conscience protections, such as the Church, Coats-Snowe, and Weldon Amendments, for individual and institutional entities which object, and is finalizing the proposal to remove that requirement from the regulations,” it outlined.

“Furthermore, the department believes that, in most instances when a referral is provided for abortion, that referral necessarily treats abortion as a method of family planning.”

Therefore, not only would Planned Parenthood entities that currently receive Title X funding not be allowed to provide family planning services in the same building in which abortions are performed, those locations that do not perform abortions would additionally be barred from referring any woman for a termination—or even promoting abortion as a method of family planning.

The rules would likely — in effect — defund the vast majority, if not all, of the nation’s Planned Parenthood locations.

However, nearly two dozen states and the District of Columbia decided to sue to challenge the requirements, and on Thursday, Judge Bastian granted Washington State’s request for an injunction while the case moves forward in court.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane of Oregon, an open homosexual who was likewise appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, said he would similarly issue an injunction, calling the rules “a ham-fisted approach to public health policy, one that emphasizes a political issue over Title X’s stated goal of goal of reducing unintended pregnancies.”

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has cheered the outcome, stating that the HHS rules would have “jeopardized healthcare access to women across the country” as “Title X clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, provide essential services.” HHS has declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

The rules were to have gone into effect on May 3.

As previously reported, according to Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report, the entity received $563 million in government grants and funds in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, up from $543 million in 2016-2017. Approximately $60 million surrounds Title X. It also received $630 million from private donors.

With all the sources of income combined, Planned Parenthood generated over $1.66 billion in revenue throughout the fiscal year.

And despite its expenditures, which included $115 million for “advocacy,” $48 million for sexual education, and $40 million on public policy — that is to influence legislation nationwide, the abortion giant still garnered a $244 million dollar profit, labeled as “excess of revenue.”

Planned Parenthood’s report provided a tally of 332,757 babies that were aborted at its facilities in 2017-2018, up more than 11,000 from the year prior.

Psalm 119:136 reads, “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes because they keep not Thy law.”

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