A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld changes the Biden administration made to a federal family planning program that allowed clinics such as Planned Parenthood to refer patients to abortion providers.
A panel of 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges has rejected an injunction request from 11 GOP-controlled states seeking to restore a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals from clinics funded by the federal government.
A lower court had previously declined to issue an injunction, but the states appealed and asked the 6th Circuit to stop enforcement of the rule while the appeal is pending.
The court denied the request and ruled that the states “have not demonstrated that they will suffer irreparable harm without the injunction.”
The states’ next step could be an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Last year, the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services reinstated the Title X program as it had been run for 19 years, until the Trump administration changed the rules in 2019. .
The Trump administration had changed program rules to prohibit all clinics that received Title X funding from referring patients for abortions. The rules also required that federally funded family planning clinics be physically and financially independent from abortion clinics.
Changes from former President Trump led many providers, including Planned Parenthood, to leave the program. As a result, several states were left without Title X providers.
Title X funds thousands of providers across the country providing birth control, cancer screening, and other services to millions of low-income women and men. The money is not used to pay for abortions.
The states, led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R), said they were suing to stop federal funds from subsidizing abortion. The states also argued that they received more money from Planned Parenthood’s uncompetitive program.
The ruling comes as political and legal battles over abortion escalate, as more states enact harsh restrictions or bans on abortion, and Republican states seek to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court.