The US Supreme Court will challenge Trump-era abortion rules. Andrew Harnik / AP Hide caption
Andrew Harnik / AP
Andrew Harnik / AP
Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET
The US Supreme Court has announced it will try a number of cases involving a Trump-era abortion rule and give the Conservative majority of 6 to 3 the first opportunity to deal with the hot button issue to deal with. At the same time, the judges threw back an appeal from former President Donald Trump, who tried again to prevent the New York District Attorney from obtaining his tax and other financial records.
The abortion case includes a 2019 Trump administrative rule passed by the Department of Health and Human Services that banned health clinics from receiving federal family planning funds when they submitted referrals for abortions, prompting organizations including Planned Parenthood to do so to withdraw from the Title X program.
Critics – including the American Medical Association and abortion rights groups – called the order a “gag rule” that would limit women’s ability to learn where to get abortion and abortion counseling. But proponents of the rule – Republicans and anti-abortion organizations – said they would make sure the federal money isn’t used to pay for abortions.
Twenty-one states – including Oregon, California, and New York – challenged the 2019 ordinance issued by HHS. All federal district courts ruled against the Trump administration rule, stating that it was arbitrary, capricious, and violated the Affordable Care Act’s provisions, which rule out disrupting communications between doctors and patients regarding a wide range of treatment options.
The appellate courts have been divided on this issue and now the Supreme Court has announced that it will hear arguments on the case next fall. Until then, however, the case could be contentious.
The Biden administration is preparing to reverse the policy, but this requires a multi-step procedural process that will take some time.
In a joint statement Monday, the ACLU, the American Medical Association, Essential Access Health, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America welcomed the court’s decision to review the lower court’s opinion.
“We continue to seek a speedy outcome, whether from the court or the Biden government, that will protect patients, doctors, providers, and the health of Nation X from further irreparable harm caused by the current regime,” they said in the statement.
Trump’s financial records
In a separate, long-awaited case, the court denied former President Trump’s motion to further delay the execution of a Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena on Trump’s financial records. The unsigned one-sentence arrangement paves the way for a New York grand jury to obtain and review the records.
The case dates back to November when Trump’s private lawyers asked the Supreme Court to block New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s efforts to obtain Trump’s tax records for eight years. A New York grand jury issued a subpoena not addressed to the president in person but to an accounting firm that has long been involved in his personal finances, Mazars USA.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that a president in office is immune to investigation. However, this argument was rejected by a federal judge and a panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Now that Trump is no longer in office, the New York Grand Jury can get the record.
Vance is investigating suspected hush money payments to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign. Adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal both said they had affairs with Trump – allegations the president has denied. The New York attorney says the president’s tax records could reveal whether Trump or his employees falsified business records to hide alleged payments.