Rule blocking Planned Parenthood funding challenged by states

Phillip Cunningham
March 7, 2019

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Monday that the state filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco that aims to block a new family planning rule from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

After the positive experience I've had regarding female reproductive health so far as a young adult, it was upsetting to read the New York Times earlier this week and see the headline "Trump Administration Blocks Funds for Planned Parenthood and Others Over Abortion Referrals".

Joining New York and CT in the lawsuit are Oregon, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over a new "gag rule" that could prevent family planning clinics that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal funds.

Changes to the Title X family planning program would bar federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. As a result, many fear, these clinics that serve approximately 4 million people a year may be forced to close their doors. Rosenblum said the rule would force providers who receive funding to decide whether they will refuse it or "cave" to the new requirements. The rule also "requir [es] the physical and financial separation of Title X projects and facilities from programs and facilities where abortion is a method of family planning", according to the text.

Pro-choice activists, politicians and others associated with Planned Parenthood gather for a news conference and demonstration at City Hall against the Trump administrations title X rule change on February 25, 2019 in New York City.

The lawsuits seek an injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect. Oregon's attorney general said her state and 20 others, including NY, plan to file a lawsuit on Tuesday.

Washington's Democratic attorney general also previously said the state would challenge the rule. A coalition of 20 other states planned to file a similar lawsuit Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said.

OR leaders are preparing to sue the Trump administration over a new rule they say will "significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information". Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million from the program.

"As the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing low-income patients, including adolescents, with access to family planning and preventative health services and information, Title X plays a vital role in the fabric of America's family planning safety net", the letter said.

After the rule was released, Planned Parenthood said it "would be impossible" for it to continue participating in Title X adding that it put providers like Planned Parenthood in an "impossible position".

The California suit argues that the rule changes "effectively rewrite the Title X statute, operating well beyond the agency's regulatory authority, to effectuate a policy principle that relegates women's health care to second class status".

"This gag rule is an attack on women everywhere", Siebel Newsom said.

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