The Washington Post

Abortion and immigratio­n cases

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

- BY ROBERT BARNES robert.barnes@washpost.com

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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