By Dave Andrusko
Here is the latest NRL News Today story in which we update readers on the Biden/Harris administration’s ongoing plan to gut the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life Rule” which required recipients of Title X family planning money not to co-locate with abortion clinics or refer clients for abortion as a method of family planning. It was nothing more than a restatement of the original purpose of Title X—the money is for family planning, not abortion. But with a January executive memorandum, President Biden unmistakably signaled his intentions to return to allowing federal funding of abortion in the Title X program.
The backdrop for all this is that in February, the Supreme Court agreed to take up conflicting appeals courts’ rulings over the constitutionality of the “Protect Life Rule.” In response, various parties have submitted briefs to the Supreme Court, as we have reported. That includes nineteen state attorneys general who last week filed a brief with the High Court seeking to intervene in the case to defend the rule.
Which brings us to the end of last week. …
On Friday, “Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar submitted a short brief to the high court last Friday requesting that the cases filed against the rule be dismissed,” according to Michael Gryboski. In a nutshell, Prelogar argues the 19 attorneys general who argued in favor of the rule and the medical associations who filed a brief against it are “not parties to this case,” so the suit can and should be dismissed.
But, of course, as we reported, the 19 state attorneys general eloquently offered two reasons why they do have an interest.
First, because States operate Title X programs themselves, the new rules eliminated any confusion about the States’ involvement in the provision of abortion. By eliminating this confusion, the new rules helped ensure that States that run Title X programs would not be misunderstood as putting their imprimatur on abortion, an imprimatur that many States and many of their citizens legitimately seek to withhold.
Second, because Planned Parenthood refused to agree not to provide or counsel for abortion and withdrew, the state of Ohio’s Department of Health “was the only grantee left… [F]unding that would otherwise have gone to Planned Parenthood went to the Department instead.” That money was subgranted to agencies which agreed to abide by the restrictions, “including, for example, county boards of health.”
In addition, as the Catholic News Agency reported,
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, and the Catholic Medical Association filed a motion last week to intervene in the case, saying that they would be directly affected by a rule change.
“It is a near certainty that the Administration will decline to defend the Rules,” the groups stated.
While the question is not if, but when a Health and Human Services run by a pro-abortion administration will change the requirement, it would be important in the future if the Supreme Court reaffirms what it held in the 1991 Rust v. Sullivan case where the justices upheld similar regulations.