Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

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

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

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.

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".

Among those drawing up papers: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson vowed to file suit.

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.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called the rule "an attack on over one million low-income Californians who rely on life-saving screenings and care from providers they trust". A coalition of 21 states and the District of Columbia claim the new rule "places an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals".

"What this new rule means is that providers who receive Title X funding will have to decide whether they will refuse the funding or "cave" to the requirements of this new rule", Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum commented Monday.

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". Title X is a federal grant program that provides individuals with "comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services", according to HHS.

FILE - In this February 15, 2019 file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Becerra and other Democratic lawmakers are seeking to overturn new obstacles the Trump administration set up for women seeking abortions, including barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals.

Social conservatives hailing the new rule included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, who praised the policy as "decisive action to disentangle taxpayers from the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood". OR announced that it will lead a national lawsuit with 21 state attorneys general; it will be filed Tuesday in the US District Court in Eugene.

"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. The changes to the federal family planning program are scheduled to go into effect in May unless blocked in court.

The Title X program is administered by the Oregon Health Authority's Reproductive Health Program.

"The rule undermines clinically established standards of care, interferes with the patient-provider relationship, and contradicts a core goal of the Title X program", the lawsuit says. "Consistent with the statutory requirement that no funds may be expended where abortion is a method of family planning, this regulation no longer requires, and affirmatively prohibits, referral for abortion as a method of family planning". Clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood, that received funding in September will run out at the end of next month and the new cycle is set to start May 1.

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