Attorney General Becerra Leads Coalition in Fight Against Trump Administration’s Title X Rule that Restricts Access to Women’s Reproductive Healthcare
SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 13 attorneys general, today filed a comment letter opposing the Trump Administration’s proposal to restrict access to healthcare by imposing unconstitutional restrictions to Title X. The Title X program provides critical preventive and life-saving care, including reproductive healthcare, to four million patients nationally, including one million patients in California.
“Making it harder for millions of women to access healthcare doesn’t make America great,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This illegal rule gags our nation’s doctors and denies patients information they need to make the best decisions for their health and families. Donald Trump forgets that our laws, not his personal views on women, shape our rules. We will fight this rule at every turn.”
On May 22, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule that would place several harmful restrictions on the Title X program. Specifically, the new Rule seeks to create barriers to women’s healthcare by:
- Prohibiting doctors from discussing comprehensive healthcare options, including abortion, with patients;
- Requiring physical and financial separation between any Title X program and any facility that provides abortion: the provider must have, at a minimum, separate examination and waiting rooms, office entrances and exits, phone numbers, email addresses, educational services, websites, personnel, electronic or paper-based health care records, and workstations;
- Forcing healthcare providers to open a second clinic in order to obtain Title X funding while providing abortion services; and
- Undermining the standard of care by allowing Title X providers to refuse medically-approved contraceptive methods in favor of less effective methods like abstinence-only.
In the letter, the Attorneys General argue that the Trump-Pence Administration rule does not take into account costs to women, healthcare providers, and States. The rule’s restrictions would likely cause the closure of federally-funded family planning clinics and limit care options for women. The financial costs of care would be shifted from the federal government to states as they fill in the gaps left by the reduction in providers. The Attorneys General argue that the proposed Rule is also unconstitutional because it censors speech and violates a women’s constitutional right to reproductive choice. It would force Title X healthcare providers and family planning clinics to abandon their constitutional rights in order to obtain federal funding.
These new requirements would directly threaten California’s Title X family planning program – the largest in the nation – which serves one million patients per year in nearly 350 health centers in a majority of California’s 58 counties.
Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing today’s comment letter are the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina.
A copy of the comment letter can be found here.