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Herring seeks Supreme Court review of Trump administration family planning rule

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A coalition of state AGs has filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of an appeals court decision to uphold the Trump administration’s Title X rule, which dismantles the nation’s family planning program.

The rule restricts access to critical preventative healthcare and access to birth control, and prohibits doctors from providing accurate information to patients on their healthcare options including referrals for abortion.

Attorney General Mark Herring and his colleagues join 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 filing the petition.

“Women in low-income communities rely on the family planning programs under Title X to receive critical reproductive and preventative healthcare, as well as access to birth control and accurate information about their healthcare options. The Trump Administration’s Title X rule is incredibly dangerous and has already proven to be damaging to low-income communities across the country,” Herring said. “From day one, the Trump administration has attempted to limit a woman’s ability to make her own choices about her healthcare. I won’t stop fighting against these illegal and misguided policies that put the health of women in Virginia in danger and threaten the relationship between a woman and her doctor.”

The Title X family planning program is instrumental in the delivery of preventive and reproductive healthcare to low-income women and families. In 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services 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;
  • Mandating referrals for prenatal care for all patients, even if this care is not requested; and
  • Requiring physician and financial separation for clinics for Title X funded services from 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.

In 2017, more than 50,000 Virginians received care through the Title X program, 65% of whom were uninsured, and in 38 percent of Virginia localities the Title X provider is the only public healthcare provider.

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 provide family planning counseling or birth control.

As a result, states have faced increased burdens to meet residents’ needs for essential healthcare.

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