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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

14 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

14 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 14 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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