IL among 20 states to sue over Trump adminstration's abortion rule

Desiree Burns
March 6, 2019

Once again taking aim at President Trump, California on Monday filed its 47th lawsuit against the administration, this time to block a move that would effectively strip millions of federal dollars from reproductive health providers that perform abortions and 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. The administration announced those changes last month. Washington, D.C., also plans to file suit on Tuesday.

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.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when the new cycle for Title X funding begins. The Department of Health and Human Services said in announcing it that the rule "protects Title X healthcare providers so that they are not required to choose between participating in the program and violating their own consciences". Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million from the program. "The final regulation is the latest of numerous recent decisions - from rolling back insurance coverage for contraceptives to attempting to eliminate funding for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs - that unravel the threads of this safety net". The Title X program has become a battlefront in the USA fight over reproductive rights, with Democrats rallying to protect abortion rights against President Trump and Republicans who have made gains curtailing access to the procedure in this administration and in state legislatures in recent years. Critics have called that restriction a gag rule. "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. "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 Trump-Pence administration has doubled down on its attacks on women's health", he said.

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"President Trump has chose to attack a program that helps to ensure that every person has access to basic, preventive and reproductive health care", Siebel Newsom said.

The "gag" rule, as opponents of the proposal refer to it, would also be initiated if the bill passes, which would bar federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. Each year the program serves about 4 million women across the US, a lot of them with poverty-level incomes.

The new rule is set to go into effect in May, unless blocked by a court.

Last week, a group of 19 medical organizations representing 4.3 million health care providers - including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - signed a letter protesting the revisions.

California filed its suit on Monday, while other states including OR plan to file on Tuesday. But facilities in New Hampshire are still bracing for sweeping reductions.

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