October 6, 2020 (AMN) LANSING, MI – Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of attorneys general today in filing a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in seeking review of a lower court’s decision to uphold the Trump administration’s Title X rule, which restricts access to critical preventive health care and birth control, and prohibits doctors from providing accurate information to patients on their health care options including referrals for abortion.
The coalition joins the American Medical Association, the Oregon Medical Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and Essential Access Health in challenging the lower court decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which dismantled the nation’s family planning program.
“The new Title X rule removes valuable health care programming for some of our most vulnerable populations. That’s why my colleagues and I are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court ruling that allowed this damaging new protocol to proceed,” Nessel said. “This administration has consistently shown a lack of concern for programs that benefit the health of low-income women and families, and this new rule adds another blemish to that tarnished track record.”
The Title X family planning program is instrumental in the delivery of preventive and reproductive health care to low-income women and families. In 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a rule imposing major changes on the Title X program including:
- Limiting the information that can be shared with a patient at a Title X clinic;
- Prohibiting referrals for abortion, even when a patient specifically requests a referral;
- Mandating referrals for prenatal care for all patients, even if this care is not requested; and
- Requiring clinics providing Title X-funded services to be physically and financially separate from any program offering abortion care.
Before 2019, the Title X program funded a wide array of critical public health services, including family planning counseling, access to FDA-approved contraceptive methods, pelvic exams, and crucial screenings for high blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and cervical and breast cancer. However, the Trump administration’s new rule has harmed the Title X program nationwide.
In 13 states, more than 50 percent of Title X grantees have withdrawn from the program, and several states no longer have any Title X providers. New providers have not filled the gap caused by the withdrawals because these providers don’t offer family planning counseling or birth control. As a result, states have faced increased burdens to meet residents’ needs for essential health care.
Joining Attorney General Nessel in filing the petition are the attorneys general of California, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.