States, D.C. To Sue Trump Administration Over Abortion 'Gag Rule'

03/07/2019 04:00 | 1

States, D.C. To Sue Trump Administration Over Abortion 'Gag Rule'

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 Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday said he was filing a lawsuit on behalf of his state seeking to block the rule, which he argued will prevent "doctors from giving patients unbiased counseling about their reproductive health choices".

Changes to the Title X family planning program would bar federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.

Nineteen other states and Washington, D.C., said they would sue separately Tuesday.

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.

Rosenblum said the new rule may force medical providers to choose between receiving the federal funds or providing patients with full reproductive health coverage. "Neither is a good or fair option for women and families who often have no other access to medical care", Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. The abortion organization provides services to just over 40 percent of Title X patients, and has claimed stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women's access to health care.

Clinics will also be required to create physical walls separating their abortion services from other family-planning programs.

Tomorrow, there will be a similar lawsuit filed in OR by that state joined by about twenty other states.

Opponents of the new rules say they will cut off Planned Parenthood and other health providers that offer abortion services from hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding.

Each year the program serves about 4 million women across the USA, majority with poverty-level incomes. "Similar regulations have already been upheld by the Supreme Court and we are confident the Trump administration will prevail".

Oregon's Title X clinics served 37,012 patients in 2017, according to Rosenblum's office, and in 2018 OR received over $3 million in Title X funds. "This illegal Title X rule denies patients access to critical healthcare services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care".

Becerra said that California is home to the largest Title X provider network in the nation, serving about 1 million women, and contends that the rule places its clinics "in an untenable situation".

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said the new rule is "an attack on over one million low-income Californians who rely on life-saving screenings and care from providers they trust". The American Civil Liberties Union plans to battle in the courts on behalf of Cedar River Clinics in Washington state, as well as the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which represents a coalition of 900 providers.

The lawsuit also takes issue with the rule's mandate that every pregnant patient get a referral for prenatal care "regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient".

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