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Supreme Court to hear challenges to abortion, immigration rules held over from Trump administration

Supreme Court to hear challenges to abortion, immigration rules held over from Trump administration

2/23/2021 4:00:00 AM

Supreme Court to hear challenges to abortion, immigration rules held over from Trump administration

Described by critics as a 'gag rule,' the Trump rule on abortion counseling drew condemnation from Democrats and praise from anti-abortion groups .

The "public charge" rule was one of several efforts by the Trump administration to reduce legal immigration. Officials at the time said the rule was intended to ensure that those approved for legal residency support themselves. A federal appeals court ruled against the Trump immigration regulation in December, dismissing that argument.

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Story continuesIn this Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 file photo, The Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington.President Joe Biden already has begun tounwind both Trump policies, but he won't be able to move quickly on either because they were implemented through a department-level rulemaking process rather than with an executive order that could be rescinded with a stroke of the president's pen. The court also could decide the constitutionality of the rules should a future president try to implement them again.

Trump effectively blocked clinics from receiving federal grants through the Title X program if they offered abortion services with other funds. Created in 1970, the program offers more than $250 million in annual federal funding for health services for low-income families and the uninsured. The money cannot be used to pay for abortion.

Trump stiffened the rules of the program by also barring referrals for abortion services. Since those changes, about one-quarter of clinics and other providers that had received federal grants to help the uninsured or low-income patients no longer participate, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Advocates say that has reduced women's access to contraception, cancer screenings and preventive care.

Conservatives have for generations pushed Republican presidents to select Supreme Court justices who would overturn – or at least chip away at – the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Trump's three nominees – Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – have given the court its most conservative split since the 1930s.

More:Amy Coney Barrett steers the Supreme Court to the rightThe Virginia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit recently blocked the rule from taking effect in Maryland. But the California-based 9th Circuit upheld it.Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said the anti-abortion group is confident the Supreme Court will uphold the rule, which she said would give future presidential administrations the right to "disentangle" taxpayer funding from abortions.

"Abortion is not ‘family planning,'" Dannenfelser said in a statement in which she predicted that the high court would stop "the funneling of Title X taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry.”The cases about both Trump-era rules won't be argued before the court until the fall.

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