by Grace Carr
The American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood filed a Tuesday lawsuit 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 groups argue that the final rule is unconstitutional and violates a congressional mandate requiring health care providers receiving Title X funds to provide complete and unbiased information to patients. They filed their lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon.
Title X is a federal grant program that provides individuals with “comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services,” according to HHS.
“Because of the administration’s overreach and interference … physicians will be prohibited from having open, frank conversations with their patients about all their health care options,”AMA President Barbara McAneny said, according to The Associated Press. “This blatant violation of patients’ rights under the Code of Medical Ethics is untenable.”
The lawsuit follows 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 rule 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.
“Pregnancies that are unintended, and thus riskier, will increase. The number of abortions will also increase. And there will be fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections and cancer screens — putting patients and their partners at great health risk,” the lawsuit reads. The rule will create “a national public health crisis,” the suit alleges.
Planned Parenthood claims it will forgo funding altogether if the rule is implemented, the AP reported. 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.
“Families that are struggling to make ends meet and people who live in rural areas must have the same access to full, unbiased information from their doctor as everyone else,” Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said, blasting the rule, the AP reported.
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.
California sued the Trump administration Monday over the final rule. Twenty states and the District of Columbia also filed a multi-state lawsuit Tuesday seeking an injunction to prevent the final rule from taking effect.
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Center for Reproductive Rights and American Civil Liberties Union will also sue over the final rule, according to reports.
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