Trump’s Title X “Protect Life Rule” heading to the Supreme Court

Protect Life Rule abortion

In the summer of 2019, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing Donald Trump’s “Protect Life Rule” partially defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers receiving federal funds via Title X to be enacted. Later, in February 2020, the full Ninth Circuit ruled 7-4 that it was constitutional.

In both cases, Pro Life, Inc. rejoiced over the fake news that Trump was defunding Planned Parenthood, and they sang praises to the man Family Research Council President Tony Perkins once called “the most pro-life president in history.”

Why do I call this fake news? Because the Protect Life Rule did nothing to defund Planned Parenthood, and it did nothing to reduce the number of abortions they provide. In fact, taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood increased, making it possible for the baby-killing enterprise to do record business despite Republican claims to the contrary.

The Protect Life Act was officially launched in February 2019, but was originally proposed in May 2018 in a vain attempt by Trump and Republicans to prevent the Blue Tsunami in the 2018 midterms. And despite claims to the contrary at the time, nothing in the Protect Life Rule prevented Planned Parenthood from continuing to receive the nearly $60 million in Title X funding. All they had to do was keep two sets of books — a fact confirmed by a White House official on the same day Trump announced his intentions:

“This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by Title X law.”

Instead of complying, and since they were getting the $60 million from other government sources, Planned Parenthood decided to opt-out of Title X and go to court. Now, after nearly two years, the lawsuits have resulted in a circuit-court split, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the Protect Life rule and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against it last September.

Which leads us to yesterday’s news. In light of the disagreement resulting from these two rulings, the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case and determine whether the federal government can require Planned Parenthood to separate their abortion services from what candidate Donald Trump called in 2015 the “good” part of Planned Parenthood in order to receive Title X money.

The Protect Life Rule was nothing but a restatement of existing law because it’s been illegal to use taxpayer funds to finance murdering unborn babies ever since the Hyde Amendment became law in 1976. And if you’re wondering how, if it’s illegal, Planned Parenthood keeps collecting its taxpayer-funded blood money, I have a one word answer: Fungibility.

When the federal government sends Planned Parenthood a check, money previously allocated to pay for services other than abortion are freed up to bankroll the murder of hundreds of thousands of unborn babies (354,871 last year). To put it another way, fungibility makes it possible for Planned Parenthood to make nearly all of its non-government revenue from killing babies since taxpayers are paying for everything else.

The simple reality is the Protect Life Rule failed in every measurable way to deliver on the rhetoric.

How Trump’s pro-abortion Supreme Court will rule is anybody’s guess, but they might not need to issue a ruling at all. Joe Biden has already indicated that his Health and Human Services (HHS) Department will undo the Protect Life Rule in the near future. In one of his stacks of Obama-inspired executive orders issued shortly after his inauguration, Biden instructed HHS to review the rule along with any other Title X policies that “impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information.”

If Biden issues an executive order restoring Title X funding to Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry before the Supreme Court hears the case, it could be dismissed outright. SCOTUS could instruct the two lower courts to wipe away their rulings since Title X funding is no longer being denied.

It’s simply a fact that the Protect Life Rule failed in every measurable way to deliver on the rhetoric we were fed:

  • Even though Planned Parenthood voluntarily took a pass on keeping two sets of books, Trump and the Republican Party increased Planned Parenthood funding over the past two years to record levels. In the year that just ended (2019-2020) Planned Parenthood received $618.1 million in taxpayer funds, equaling $1.7 million per day or $1,748.97 per murdered baby.
  • Since money is fungible, Planned Parenthood could have continued performing abortions using Title X funds by simply by incorporating a bit of creative bookkeeping.
  • Per the administration, Planned Parenthood could have received Title X money if they had simply “disentangled” taxpayer funds from their abortion services (see fungibility above) and moved their infanticide to a different location, a location that could have even been in the same building.
  • Planned Parenthood didn’t lose one red cent in Title X funds.
  • Planned Parenthood has continued to murder a record number of unborn babies.

The reality is Trump’s intentionally and deceptively misnamed Protect Life Rule protected abortion, not life.

As I stated in an article from a few days ago, with Democrats in control of Washington for the next two years, the abortion pedal will be to the metal. Case in point: Joe Biden just signed an executive order reversing the Mexico City policy, thus permitting U.S. aid money to once again fund organizations and groups that provide or promote abortion around the globe.

This unsurprising return to abortion without limits is going to make it easy for Republicans running for election and those who support them to point a finger at Democrats and Planned Parenthood for the record-setting baby-killing. And if you’re one of those followers, you need to ask yourself: Are you defending life, or are you defending Republicans?

You can’t have it both ways.


David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.

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