Circuit Court Stops Trump Admin. from Enforcing Title X Ban on Funding Abortion Clinics

Sep 10, 2020

Circuit Court Stops Trump Admin. from Enforcing Title X Ban on Funding Abortion Clinics

On Thursday, by a vote of 8 to 6, an en blanc panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision prohibiting enforcement of the Trump administration’s “Protect Life” rule in Maryland. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) rule prohibits taxpayer-funded family planning clinics in the Title X program from performing abortions or making abortion referrals and requires the physical and financial separation of facilities that provide such services. 
The majority, speaking through Judge Stephanie Thacker, wrote that the rules “failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country" and “arbitrarily estimated” the cost to clinics of adhering to the new rules, focusing specifically on the requirement that they maintain a separate facility and separate staff to divide their abortion and family planning services.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Julius Richardson stated the rule was within the department’s authority and “was the product of reasoned decision-making…Whatever courts or commenters think about the wisdom of an agency’s regulations are of no moment. We must uphold regulations against allegations of arbitrariness, capriciousness, whimsicality, or temperamentality so long as the record shows that the agency gave a hard look and a reasonable response to the problem at hand. And because I conclude that the agency considered the issues and drew a rational line from the facts it found to the choices it made, I would reject Baltimore’s arbitrary-and-capricious challenge.”
The decision, which came in a lawsuit filed by Baltimore city officials, means Maryland remains the only state where enforcement of the rule is enjoined. The decision created a split in the judiciary, as the 9th Circuit previously allowed the funding restrictions to move forward.

News Sources:

Fourth Circuit clashes with Ninth Circuit over Trump Administration’s ‘Protect Life’ rule

Federal court upholds injunction against Trump admin’s Title X rules in Maryland  

Circuit court stops Trump admin. from enforcing Title X ban on funding clinics that promote abortion

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