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Pro-choice activists and politicians associated with Planned Parenthood. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A panel of 3 federal appeals judges ruled on Thursday that a family planning "gag rule" could take effect immediately, withdrawing up to $60 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood and similar reproductive-care providers, the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: "If the program refers patients to abortion providers for family planning services, then that program is logically one 'where abortion is a method of family planning,'" the panel wrote.

Why it matters: Millions — particularly low-income women — depend on these federal grants for services like birth control, cancer screening and other health-related tests. Some argue that this is yet another blow to women's rights since President Trump took office, while others fear the decision could imperil the health of millions of American women.

Details: The Trump administration's new rule, published in March, would render taxpayer-funded clinics unqualified to accept funding if they perform abortions or provide referrals. Diane Foley, deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services spoke of "grave concerns" that taxpayer dollars were illegally paying for abortions, thus justifying the new rule, per the Post. Some elements of the law, such as banning abortion referrals, will be effective immediately.

  • Planned Parenthood has long been targeted by social conservatives who have tried to redirect funding toward religious organizations that educate women on abstinence.

What's next: Planned Parenthood along with 21 state attorneys general who filed suit after the policy was introduced could appeal Thursday's decision; however, it seems unlikely the ruling would be overturned.

Go deeper: Trump weighs cutting Planned Parenthood's Title X funds

Go deeper

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.

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