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Democrat-Led States to Sue Trump over Blocking Funds to Planned Parenthood

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 25: Pro-choice activists, politicians and others associated with Planned Parenthood gather for a news conference and demonstration at City Hall against the Trump administrations title X rule change on February 25, 2019 in New York City. The proposed final rule for the Title X …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
DR. SUSAN BERRY

Democrat-led states allied with Planned Parenthood are challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that would block about $60 million in family planning funding to the organization because it provides and refers for abortions.

Officials from Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, New York, and California say they will sue the Trump administration over the new rule that marks a clear line between abortion and family planning.

The rule, slated to go into effect in April, governs Title X, the federal grant program that provides funding for family planning services. It reinstates President Ronald Reagan’s “Protect Life Rule,” which bars the “co-location” of federally funded family planning clinics and abortion clinics.

The new regulation prohibits the use of the funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.”

However, Planned Parenthood and other abortion vendors who wish to continue to receive Title X family planning funds may do so if they choose either to end their abortion services from all locations that receive the Title X funding, or move those abortion services offsite to an entirely different location.

While many of the claims against the Trump administration say its new rule will create a negative impact on low-income individuals, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini noted the new rule actually protects individuals at or near the poverty level.

“[The] new regulation protects low-income women who rely on Title X assistance because no funds will be cut from the program,” she said, observing that women in need can receive family planning services at federally qualified health centers (FQHC), which outnumber abortion centers 20 to one.

“At FQHCs women benefit from better regulatory oversight, a wider range of services, and more life-affirming options,” she said. “The new Title X regulations are a win-win for all Americans.”

However, in Washington, Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined with leaders from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association to announce his lawsuit against the Trump administration. Ferguson claimed that more than half of the 91,284 patients in his state who received family planning services in 2017 were low-income individuals, reported KING5 News.

“I don’t file a lawsuit unless I’m confident we will prevail,” Ferguson said, according to Kaiser Health News. “We’ve filed 17 cases against this administration. We have not lost a case yet.”

Oregon Democrat Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum called the Trump administration rule “a direct assault on our core Oregon values.”

“[I]t is wrong and illegal and leaves our state with no choice but to file a lawsuit in the coming weeks to prevent it from going into effect,” she said in a press statement.

In Connecticut, Democrat Attorney General William Tong said he would take “swift legal action” to preserve Planned Parenthood’s federal funding.

“This action seeks to push a politically-motivated, anti-choice agenda on millions of individuals who rely on the Title X program for access to birth control and safe reproductive health care,” he said, according to CTMirror.

However, Amanda Skinner, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said, despite the new rule that would block federal funds, her organization can use privately donated funds and pursue other funding streams to make up for the $2.4 million in Title X funds received last year.

“We have seen repeated efforts on the part of this administration to dismantle programs or put into place programs that harm people who are already the most marginalized in our society,” Skinner said.

Pro-life and faith-based groups in Connecticut, which already do their own fundraising, are encouraged by the Trump administration’s new rule.

“We’re grateful for whatever funds are re-directed away from Planned Parenthood because we do not believe that taxpayer funds should go to organizations that offer services that many millions of Americans don’t support, as in abortions,” said Christina Bennett, communications director for the Family Institute of Connecticut.

In a press statement, New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James called the Trump administration’s rule “dangerous and unnecessary.”

“New York will not stand by as this Administration puts New Yorkers’ health at risk for politics, and we will take legal action,” she said.

Catholic News Agency reported Planned Parenthood of Illinois also said it would adapt to the new Trump administration rule to allow its patients to continue receiving family planning services.

Following the announcement of the finalized rule, the Illinois affiliate of Planned Parenthood launched Access Birth Control, an initiative that would provide birth control pills, IUDs, condoms, and Depo-Provera shots for free throughout the remainder of President Donald Trump’s first term.

Maine Family Planning, a women’s health care provider in the Pine Tree state, also announced last week that it would seek a preliminary injunction to block the new Trump administration rule. According to the Bangor Daily News, the organization receives about $2 million in federal family planning funds each year. One of its partner groups is Planned Parenthood.

Democrat Maine Gov. Janet Mills is allying herself with Maine Family Planning to “determine what we can do at the state level to protect the health care of Maine women.”

Pro-abortion rights Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins is supportive of the efforts.

“I oppose this misguided rule change that could significantly diminish access for women to crucial contraceptive services, which have been critical in reducing the number of abortions in our country over the past three decades,” Collins said in a statement.

The senator’s spokeswoman said Collins would be looking into “potential legislative remedies” to the Trump administration rule in the near future.

Ann O’Leary, chief of staff to Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom, said Thursday her state also intends to sue the Trump administration.

O’Leary referred to the finalized rule as “unconstitutional” and said it was one of the issues “that fundamentally we disagree on in terms of who we are as people,” reported Herald-Mail Media.

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