- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Supreme Court has dismissed a group of cases challenging the Trump administration’s “gag rule,” which banned clinics that receive government funds for family planning services from referring women to abortion providers.

The Biden administration plans to roll back that rule by the fall before the matter would be resolved during the court’s next term — which begins in October — so the justices dismissed the cases on Monday.

Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar urged the dismissal, saying the administration would be doing away with the mandate forbidding clinics from abortion referrals.

“The proposed rule does not include the provisions at issue in these cases. Given that HHS proposes to replace the 2019 rule and expects to finalize any new rule by early fall — before this Court would decide these cases — the government and the challengers to the 2019 rule jointly stipulated to dismiss the cases,” Ms. Prelogar wrote to the court in a letter earlier this month.

The disputes arose in 2019, when the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule banning clinics and providers that receive Title X funding from counseling on abortion services.

Abortion providers and clinics sued in federal courts to block the rule, saying it intruded on communications between providers and patients.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected their request, but the 4th Circuit upheld it and issued an injunction for the challengers from Maryland.

The Supreme Court had agreed to hear the matter to resolve the dispute between the federal courts.

The 2019 rule is being enforced across the country, except for in Maryland, until the Biden administration implements its new rule later this year.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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