Washington, DC—The en banc Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Title X funding rule for federal family planning programs, called the “Protect Life Rule,” is constitutional.

“Americans United for Life is grateful that the court of appeals has seen through the false cries of the abortion industry and upheld a rule that protects women’s health as well as taxpayers’ consciences,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life. “We look forward to the implementation of the rule in a way that ensures that no public funding is ever used for elective abortions.”

Agreeing with the position of Americans United for Life (AUL) expressed in four “friend of the court” briefs AUL filed in the Ninth Circuit in support of the rule, the court held that the Protect Life Rule is actually more lenient than the Reagan-era rule previously upheld by the Supreme Court. The court of appeals further observed correctly that, contrary to assertions by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups, the Protect Life Rule is not a “gag rule” prohibiting discussion of abortion.

Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which was enacted to provide financial support for healthcare organizations offering family planning services, statutorily prohibits Title X funds from going to programs that use or promote abortion as a method of family planning. HHS proposed the “Protect Life Rule” to increase compliance with Title X’s statutory mandates by requiring program participants to maintain physical and financial separation between their abortion services and Title X projects, as well as prohibiting direct abortion counseling and abortion referrals.

The rule was scheduled to go into effect on May 3, 2019, but eight different pro-abortion groups filed legal challenges against the final Title X rule, including two challenges in California, two in Oregon, and two in Washington. Each of the district court judges in California, Oregon, and Washington issued an order temporarily stopping the rule from going into effect. HHS appealed to the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to reverse the three orders in four separate cases.

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization that holds the distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America—incorporated in 1971. It protects and defends human life from conception to natural death through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts.

press@aul.org or 202-741-4921