President Donald Trump’s record-setting pace of judicial appointments is beginning to pay off.
On Tuesday, Trump-appointed Judge Lance Walker ruled to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Maine Family Planning (MFP) that contended that the administration’s so-called Protect Life Rule violates the First Amendment, Breitbart reported.
According to Breitbart, the Protect Life Rule “blocks federal funding from providers that do not draw a clear boundary between family planning and abortion.”
Abortion clinics could work around the rule by separating where abortions are performed from counseling aspects of their operations — meaning they’d need two separate facilities if they wanted to continue to receive federal funding.
The rule was finalized in 2019, according to Politico — and unsurprisingly, liberals immediately jumped in to fight it. According to Breitbart, MFP filed a suit last year based on the argument that its freedom of speech was being violated.
But in July 2019, Judge Walker denied the organization an injunction against the rule, Breitbart reported — and now, he has outright dismissed the case.
In his ruling, Walker stated that the new rule “authorizes nondirective counseling, including abortion counseling; it only prohibits an abortion referral,” according to Breitbart.
The judge went on: “Despite the prohibition against abortion referral and other program speech that would identify abortion providers, nothing in either the separation requirement or the post-conception activities provision precludes Title X grantees from providing abortion services through separate programs and facilities.”
Reaction to ruling
The reaction to Judge Walker’s ruling was as expected, with pro-choice advocates enraged and pro-life groups celebrating the premise that this ruling affirms that abortion services should not be considered part of “family planning.”
Emily Nester, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented MFP, stated: “We are disappointed that the judge did not recognize the very real harms this rule creates, not to mention the federal government’s utter disregard for how its actions will injure millions of people.”
She went on: “This rule has dismantled the Title X program — a program that has been critical in helping low-income Mainers access contraception and other reproductive health care.”
MFP now joins Planned Parenthood in withdrawing from the Title X program, as well as foregoing any other federal funding — and that’s good news. Thanks to Judge Walker, our tax dollars still won’t be going toward procedures that end unborn children’s lives.