The decision is a major blow for the 21 states and several health providers, such as Planned Parenthood, that challenged the rule in court after it was issued in March, arguing that it would severely impact low-income Americans' ability to access family-planning services and other types of reproductive healthcare.
The 1977 Hyde Amendment already bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion care. What Title X does, however, is offer over $250 million in federal funds to health providers that can be allocated for family-planning services, such as affordable birth control, or other health services such as gynecological exams, cancer screenings, STIs testing, and more. The program serves about four million people a year, most of whom are low-income. Planned Parenthood specifically serves about 40% of people who get healthcare through Title X. This means the Trump administration's domestic gag rule could cut as much as $60 million in funds for the organization.
After the rule was issued in March, federal judges blocked it in the three states where legal challenges were filed: Oregon, Washington, and California. Judges in the first two issued nationwide preliminary injunctions. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel — made up of Judges Edward Leavy, Consuelo Callahan, and Carlos Bea, who were all appointed by Republican presidents — ruled Thursday that the domestic gag rule is a “reasonable” interpretation of the law. The court allowed it to take effect immediately as the Trump administration appeals the previous rulings.
"This decision paves the way for a full-blown assault on reproductive healthcare. Title X providers can no longer refer their patients for the full range of healthcare options and patients are no longer guaranteed to receive complete, accurate information about their healthcare," NARAL Pro-Choice America Vice President Adrienne Kimmell said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "Limiting access to family-planning services and putting politicians in between a woman and her doctor to restrict the information she receives about her pregnancy options is a terrifying new threat at a time when reproductive freedom is under unprecedented attack."
Support for the domestic gag rule falls along partisan lines. Earlier this week, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a near $1 trillion spending package that includes several provisions reversing the Trump administration's anti-choice policies, including the domestic gag rule.