March 24, 2019

California sues over Trump administration changes to Title X family planning program

06 March 2019, 02:54 | Silvia Roy



The 21 states are seeking an injunction to prevent the Trump administration's February 22 rule barring Title X funds from supporting programs and organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals.

California filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the Trump administration's plans to cut off federal funds to family planning providers that offer and counsel women about abortions.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the state of Washington also have said they plan to sue.

Attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, 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 are also joining Oregon's lawsuit.

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The lawsuits seek a court injunction to stop the rule from taking effect in 60 days.

The rule, announced by the Health and Human Services Department on February 22, was celebrated by social conservatives eager to see a substantial portion of the $286 million Title X federal family planning program redirected to faith-based groups. In a news statement, OR officials explained, for example, that "it would require health clinics to open another location, OR create a separate entrance for patients, have separate examination rooms, hire separate personnel to work at separate workstations, maintain a separate phone number and website, and have separate electronic medical systems in order to continue to accept Title X funds".

A multistate suit is expected to be filed on Tuesday in OR, and the state of California filed its own separate court challenge against the federal government in San Francisco on Monday.

According to James, the rule relates to funding for Title X, the only federal grant program that funds family planning programs to help patients access contraception, cancer screenings, exams, and other related health services. But under the revisions, health care providers who receive Title X funds can not talk about abortion with patients or offer referrals for the procedure.

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Marjorie Dannenfelser, however, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood "have treated the Title X program like their own multimillion-dollar slush fund". "This illegal Title X rule denies patients access to critical healthcare services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care".

On Monday, 21 states announced they would be filing a federal lawsuit Tuesday in OR, arguing the rule imposes "an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals". The rule also forbids Title X locations from giving abortion referrals.

"Because of the administration's overreach and interference in health care decision making, physicians will be prohibited from having open, frank conversations with their patients about all their healthcare options", McAneny said.

California's attorney general said the new rule affects 4 million mostly low-income women nationwide and 1 million women in California.

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"Now, Planned Parenthood's allies are running to court to ensure taxpayers are forced to continue filling the coffers of the abortion industry", she said, adding the allied states suing the Trump administration are mischaracterizing the new rule as one that is eliminating family planning funding.

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