The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has threatened a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its new proposed regulation that would bar Title X family planning funds from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood who promote abortion as a method of family planning.
In a letter to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 14 Democratic governors wrote that the new restrictions that make a clear distinction between abortion and family planning or health care are “dangerous” and “reckless.”
The proposed rule would redirect Title X funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, who choose not to have separate facilities for abortions and family planning services, to other federally qualified healthcare facilities that provide more expansive services. Such facilities outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics, 20 to 1. Any individual who would have chosen a Title X abortion facility for regular health care and family planning services can find another center at getyourcare.org.
Nevertheless, the Democratic governors said the regulation “poses serious risks to women’s health.”
“This dangerous proposal would upend decades of bipartisan cooperation, taking away women’s healthcare through trusted medical providers like Planned Parenthood and eroding their access to comprehensive, medically accurate information,” the governors wrote, adding the rule is part of the “Administration’s efforts to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship,” and will “gut women’s access to family planning services.”
“[I]f this reckless policy is finalized as written, we will have no choice but to explore all possible avenues, including legal options, to block it from harming the women in our states,” the governors threatened. “Our voices will be heard on this damaging proposal, and we are prepared to match our words with action.”
The new rule, which can be read at the HHS website, bars recipients of federal Title X family planning funds from referring women for abortions and – for abortion providers that also offer family planning services – also requires completely separate facilities for these services. The rule sends the clear message that abortion is not family planning or health care.
The new regulations also require Title X recipients to both abide by all state and local laws that mandate the reporting of child sexual abuse, and to document that they have made those reports. On Wednesday, pro-life group Live Action released a new report and video series alleging that Planned Parenthood has a long history of enabling child sex abusers by covering up their potentially criminal activities.
The letter is signed by DGA Chairman Gov. Jay Inslee (WA) and DGA Vice Chairman Gina Raimondo (RI), as well as Govs. Andrew Cuomo (NY); Mark Dayton (MN); John Hickenlooper (CO); Dan Malloy (CT); Steve Bullock (MT); David Ige (HI); Tom Wolf (PA); Kate Brown (OR); John Carney (DE); Roy Cooper (NC); Phil Murphy (NJ); and Ralph Northam (VA).