Medicine

California sues over abortion rule; other states to follow

California sues over abortion rule; other states to follow

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 filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging its controversial new rule that could pull federal funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics, making California the first of many states expected to take legal action.

Federally funded family planning clinics were already barred from performing abortions with Title X funds. Washington officials said last week that they plan to sue.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, both Democrats, on Monday announced another lawsuit with Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the 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.

"Neither is a good or fair option for women and families who often have no other access to medical care", she said.

"What this new rule means is that providers in OR who receive Title X funding will have to decide whether they will refuse the funding OR "cave" to the requirements of this new rule", Rosenblum said in a press release.

The new rule specifically prohibits "referral for abortion as a method of family planning", but does not bar "nondirective counseling on abortion".

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Twenty states will file a lawsuit Tuesday over a final rule barring Title X funds from supporting programs and organizations that provide abortions.

It also would require physical and financial separation between family planning services and abortion services, which would effectively require Planned Parenthood to make considerable changes to its programs, or give up $60 million a year in federal funding.

"The Trump-Pence Administration has doubled down on its attacks on women's health", Becerra said in a statement.

In a statement, Becerra claimed that the rule would deny "patients access to critical health care services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care".

The lawsuit says the new rule will affect programs funded through Essential Access Health, including services provided by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

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".

"For years abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn children a year, have treated the Title X program like their own multimillion-dollar slush fund", she said. 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. Critics say a "gag rule" in the regulations that runs counter to medical ethics will prevent Planned Parenthood from referring women to health-care providers that perform abortions and authorizes providers to give only biased, one-sided information about carrying a pregnancy to term.