WASHINGTON – Twenty states will file a lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration over its latest move to force abortion clinics to separate abortion from other health care services in order to qualify for Title X funding.
The states will file their suit in a U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, Tuesday. The multi-state suit comes after Democratic California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration over its Title X rule in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, The Washington Post reported Monday. Title X is a federal grant program that provides individuals with “comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services,” according to HHS.
The 21 states are seeking an injunction to prevent the Trump administration’s Feb. 22 rule barring Title X funds from supporting programs and organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals.
The rule states that “none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” 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.
The move will force Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics to separate health services such as cancer screenings, pap smears and breast exams from their abortion services, Politico reported. Prior to the ruling, federal law barred Title X grant recipients from using funds to facilitate abortions.
The states allege in their suits that the administration’s rule violates the Affordable Care Act by creating “unreasonable barriers to the ability of individuals to obtain appropriate medical care,” the Post reported. “HHS has exceeded the scope its statutory authority and acted in a manner that is arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with law,” Becerra wrote in California’s suit, according to the Post.
The rule will also force clinics to report cases of rape, incest and human trafficking — as federal law already requires. Clinics must adhere to “documented compliance with State and local laws requiring notification or the reporting of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking,” the rule states.
Planned Parenthood receives between $50 million and $60 million every year in Title X funds, according to Politico. 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move an “outrageous assault on the health care of vulnerable and under-served women and families,” adding that the rule will “gravely undermin[e] the health and strength of America.”
“Everyone deserves the ability [to] make their own decisions about their health care,” Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also said in a statement after the rule was announced, according to the Post. “It is appalling that the federal government wants to rob individuals of the right to complete medical information and full access to the critical health care services they rely on.”
The final rule has been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication. The regulations will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register, and clinics will have additional time to comply.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and American Civil Liberties Union have also said they will sue over the administration’s final rule, according to the Post.