California Sues Trump Administration for Family Planning ‘Gag Rule’
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 new Title X rule, which has been dubbed the “gag rule” by critics, bars family planning clinics that receive federal funding from referring patients for abortions. It also requires family planning clinics receiving federal funds to be in a separate location and maintain separate finances from clinics that provide abortions.
“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 in a statement.
Becerra will argue that the new rule will interfere with the practice of medicine and force providers out of business because of financial strain. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum also announced Monday that she would lead 19 other states and the District of Columbia in a similar but separate lawsuit that is expected to be filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon.
The lawsuits seek an injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect.
Title X is a government family planning program that serves some 4 million people, most of them female, low-income and young.
Rolled out last month, the new rule stands to disqualify Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers from receiving federal money. After the rule was released, Planned Parenthood said it “would be impossible” for it to continue participating in Title X adding that it put providers like Planned Parenthood in an “impossible position.”
Planned Parenthood currently receives about a quarter of Title X funds in order to provide reproductive health care services to low-income patients. Federal funding is not used for abortion services.
The Trump administration has said the rule is necessary to ensure the legal and ethical use of taxpayer dollars. 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.”