Federal Judges, Pelosi Congress Work to Block President Trump’s Protect Life Rule

April 30, 2019
CONTACT: Mallory Quigley
[email protected] | 202-223-8073

SBA List & Thomas More Society Have Filed Amicus Briefs in in Support of Federal Rule

Washington, D.C. – Three federal judges in the Ninth Circuit have now granted preliminary injunctions to block enforcement of the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule, which would ensure compliance with longstanding statutory prohibitions on using Title X funds in programs where abortion is a method of family planning. These court rulings come as Speaker Pelosi and Congressional Democrats seek to block the Protect Life Rule in the Labor, Health & Human Services appropriations bill.

The national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) released the following statement in response:

“In issuing the Protect Life Rule, President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Azar were acting on the will of the American people to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry. Now, once again the abortion lobby has run to the Courts to attempt to safeguard their taxpayer-funded slush fund,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “So too, Speaker Pelosi and Congressional Democrats are all too eager to ensure federal funding for their political allies in the abortion business. We urge the House Appropriations Committee to remove this anti-life poison pill amendment to nullify the Protect Life Rule. President Trump has vowed to veto any legislation that would weaken existing pro-life protections.”

Represented by the Thomas More Society, Susan B. Anthony List has filed amicus briefs in support of the Protect Life Rule and the federal government in every case brought to date. Speaking to the merits of the rule, Dannenfelser added:

“The need for the Protect Life Rule is powerfully illustrated by abortion providers own arguments about how difficult it would be for them to separate their abortion-related activities from legitimate health care programs funded by Title X. As HHS itself noted, insisting that ‘physical and financial separation would increase the cost for doing business only confirms the need for such separation.’

“The Protect Life Rule consists with other federal laws expressing a similar respect for human life including the Hyde Amendment, the Coates-Snow Amendment, and the Weldon Amendment. The Protect Life Rule also accords with Supreme Court precedents affirming that government, including by its use of public funds and facilities, has a legitimate interest in protecting human life beginning in utero and in favoring childbirth over abortion.

“Similar regulations have already been upheld by the Supreme Court,” concluded Dannenfelser. “We are confident the Trump administration will prevail.”

Sarah Pitlyk, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, added:

“Title X has always prohibited the use of its funds by programs ‘where abortion is a method of family planning.’  The recently blocked regulations simply reinforced those terms, ensuring that taxpayer funds will only be used for permitted purposes. The Thomas More Society will continue to support the Susan B. Anthony List’s goal to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not support the abortion industry.”

Under the Protect Life Rule, abortion centers cannot operate as taxpayer-funded family planning centers (“co-location”). In addition, Title X locations cannot refer for abortion. The Protect Life Rule does not prohibit Title X providers from providing neutral, nondirective counseling about abortion and does not prevent anyone from obtaining Title X services. It does not reduce family planning funding by a dime. Instead, it directs tax dollars to Title X centers that do not promote or perform abortions, such as the growing number of community and rural health centers that far outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities. Similar regulations were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991 in Rust v. Sullivan (500 U.S. 173).

SBA List is a network of more than 700,000 pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.



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