The Washington Post

Abor­tion and im­mi­gra­tion cases

Court agrees to take up chal­lenges to Trump-era reg­u­la­tions.

- BY ROBERT BARNES robert.barnes@wash­ U.S. News · US Politics · Society · Discrimination · Immigration · Politics · Human Rights · U.S. Supreme Court · Donald Trump · Joe Biden · United States of America · Department of Homeland Security · Homeland · New York City · Planned Parenthood · Philadelphia Union · U.S. Court of Appeals · Baltimore · Maryland · Union · International Planned Parenthood Federation · Susan B. Anthony · Legal Aid Society · Center for Constitutional Rights · American Civil Liberties Union · American Medical Association · National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association · Make the Road New York

The Supreme Court on Mon­day agreed to take up chal­lenges to con­tro­ver­sial Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion reg­u­la­tions on im­mi­grants and on abor­tion coun­sel­ing, al­though the Bi­den ad­min­is­tra­tion might re­scind both be­fore the cases can be heard.

One case in­volves a “gag rule” that pro­hibits fed­er­ally funded health clin­ics from re­fer­ring women to abor­tion providers. The other in­volves reg­u­la­tions that could keep im­mi­grants from getting their green cards if they use food stamps or other pub­lic ben­e­fits.

The cases would not be heard un­til the court’s new term be­gin­ning in Oc­to­ber. Pres­i­dent Bi­den al­ready has ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to both of the poli­cies.

At is­sue in the im­mi­gra­tion cases are rules that es­tab­lish new cri­te­ria for what makes one be deemed de­pen­dent on the govern­ment for pub­lic as­sis­tance — a “pub­lic charge” — and there­fore dis­qual­i­fied for green cards and a path to U.S. cit­i­zen­ship.

Un­der the 2019 Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity pol­icy, im­mi­grants who are in the United States legally are con­sid­ered pub­lic charges and in­el­i­gi­ble if they use any ben­e­fits or are de­clared likely to some­day rely on such as­sis­tance.

Im­mi­grant sup­port groups call it a “wealth test” and say it in­tim­i­dates im­mi­grants and their chil­dren from us­ing pub­lic ben­e­fits such as Med­i­caid, food stamps or hous­ing as­sis­tance to which they may be legally en­ti­tled.

Fed­eral courts have split on the rules, but the Supreme Court has al­lowed them to mostly go into ef­fect while the le­gal chal­lenges con­tinue.

The groups who brought the chal­lenges said Mon­day that Bi­den should re­vise the rules rather than wait for a de­ci­sion from the high court.

“The Bi­den ad­min­is­tra­tion must re­scind the rule im­me­di­ately and should with­draw all pend­ing govern­ment ap­peals defending the rule, in­clud­ing its ap­peals to the Supreme Court,” the Le­gal Aid So­ci­ety, the Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tional Rights and a group called Make the Road New York said in a joint state­ment.

“Ev­ery day that passes causes more harm to im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties and im­pedes ef­forts to curb the spread of the coro­n­avirus, par­tic­u­larly among low-in­come com­mu­ni­ties of color.”

In the abor­tion case, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion al­ready is con­sid­er­ing the re­stric­tions Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s team put in place re­gard­ing Ti­tle X, a decades-old law re­gard­ing fam­ily-plan­ning ser­vices. Its reg­u­la­tions con­tin­u­ally change, de­pend­ing on the po­lit­i­cal party of the ad­min­is­tra­tion in charge.

Groups such as Planned Par­ent­hood have said that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quire­ments could keep them from par­tic­i­pat­ing, and re­strict physi­cians from even re­fer­ring a woman to an abor­tion provider if she is seek­ing the pro­ce­dure.

The U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit ap­proved the re­stric­tions. The U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 4th Cir­cuit said they went too far, and a suit brought by Bal­ti­more said they could not be en­forced in Mary­land.

Groups chal­leng­ing the rules — the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, Es­sen­tial Ac­cess Health, the Na­tional Fam­ily Plan­ning & Re­pro­duc­tive Health As­so­ci­a­tion, and Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica — wel­comed the Supreme Court’s re­view.

The rule “in­ap­pro­pri­ately in­ter­feres with the pa­tient-physi­cian re­la­tion­ship and con­flicts with the eth­i­cal obli­ga­tions of physi­cians and other health-care providers — ul­ti­mately jeop­ar­diz­ing pa­tient ac­cess to safe care,” they said.

An­tiabor­tion ac­tivists said they re­mained hope­ful that the court will get the chance to ap­prove what they called the “Pro­tect Life Rule.”

“We are con­fi­dent the Supreme Court will rule that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and fu­ture pro-life ad­min­is­tra­tions have the right to dis­en­tan­gle Ti­tle X tax­payer fund­ing from the abor­tion in­dus­try,” said Mar­jorie Dan­nen­felser, pres­i­dent of the Su­san B. An­thony List.

 ?? SALWAN GEORGES/THE WASH­ING­TON POST ?? The Supreme Court’s new term be­gins in Oc­to­ber, and cases tied to Trump-era reg­u­la­tions could be ad­dressed at that point. Pres­i­dent Bi­den al­ready has ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to the poli­cies in ques­tion.
SALWAN GEORGES/THE WASH­ING­TON POST The Supreme Court’s new term be­gins in Oc­to­ber, and cases tied to Trump-era reg­u­la­tions could be ad­dressed at that point. Pres­i­dent Bi­den al­ready has ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to the poli­cies in ques­tion.

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