Trump abortion rule deals 'devastating blow' to Planned Parenthood, group says

The Trump administration stopped taxpayer dollars from going to abortion referrals at publicly funded family planning centers on Monday.

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, sued the administration, along with 20 states and the District of Columbia, in an attempt to stop Health and Human Services, or HHS, from diverting Title X family planning funding going to abortions. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with two judges appointed by Trump, rejected the plea.

"This is a devastating blow to the 4 million patients who obtain birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential care through Title X," the organization tweeted.

Ahead of a Tuesday HHS conference, the administration formally notified clinics that it will begin to enforce the ban on abortion referrals as well as a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. Another requirement, that abortion facilities cannot be under the same roof as family planning clinics, will take effect next year.

Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said the abortion provider's "doors are still open."

"We will not stop fighting for all those across the country in need of essential care," Wen added.

But HHS Secretary Alex Azar told "Fox News @ Night" the administration is just enforcing the law already on the books about abortion.

"For too long that money has been used to subsidize the provision of abortion contrary to statute. Congress has said that you cannot support abortion as a method of family planning," Azar said in June. "We're just finally enforcing it."

The pro-life movement, which opposes abortion, celebrated the Trump administration's move and the court's decision.

"Ending the connection between abortion and family planning is a victory for common-sense health care," Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, said in a statement.

Title X serves about 4 million women annually through independent clinics, about 40 percent operated by Planned Parenthood, and the program provides about $260 million a year in grants to the clinics.

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