Appeals court upholds Biden changes to family planning program
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Biden administration’s changes to a federal family planning program that allowed clinics such as Planned Parenthood to refer patients to abortion providers.
A panel of judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals declined an injunction request by 11 GOP-controlled states seeking to restore a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals from federally funded clinics.
A lower court had previously declined to issue an injunction, but the states appealed and asked the 6th Circuit to stop the rule’s implementation while the appeal is ongoing.
The court denied the request and ruled the states “have not demonstrated that they will be irreparably harmed without the injunction.”
The states’ next step could be an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services last year reverted the Title X program to the way it was run for 19 years, until the Trump administration changed the rules in 2019.
The Trump administration had changed the program’s rules to prohibit any clinics that received Title X funding from referring patients for abortions. The rules also required federally funded family planning clinics to be physically and financially independent of abortion clinics.
Former President Trump’s changes led many providers, including Planned Parenthood, to leave the program. As a result, several states were left with no Title X providers.
Title X funds thousands of providers across the country offering contraception, cancer screenings and other services to millions of low-income women and men. The money is not used to pay for abortions.
The states, led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R), said they were suing to stop federal funds from going to subsidize abortion. The states also argued they received more money through the program without competition from Planned Parenthood.
The ruling comes as political and legal battles over abortion are growing sharper, as more states pass severe abortion restrictions or bans, and as Republican states seek to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision at the Supreme Court.
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