WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a series of cases challenging a federal regulation that cuts funding to medical providers who refer patients for abortions – one of several issues before the high court held over from former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Described by critics as a “gag rule,” the 2019 provision drew condemnation from Democratic politicians and praise from anti-abortion groups. Different federal appeals courts have handed down diverging decisions about the rule’s constitutionality.
Supporters say the rule will ensure federal money isn’t used to pay for abortions, while opponents say it would restrict the ability of women to obtain an abortion and abortion counseling. The decision to take the case may give the new 6-3 conservative majority on the high court its first opportunity to wade into the controversial issue of abortion.
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The court also decided to take up a case about another Trump administration regulation that would allow federal officials to deny green cards to migrants if they believe the recipients will receive public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, or housing vouchers.
The so-called “public charge” rule was one several efforts by the administration to reduce legal immigration. Officials at the time said the rule was intended to ensure those approved for legal residency support themselves.
Contributing: Jeanine Santucci