Jun 20, 2019

Federal judges: Family planning "gag rule" effective immediately

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

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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