Battle lines are being drawn as California becomes the first of 22 states to sue the Donald Trump administration over its new rule that denies taxpayer family planning funds to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit Monday that seeks to halt the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule that draws a clear line between abortion and family planning. The regulation, scheduled to go into effect in April, would block about $60 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides and refers for abortions.
Becerra’s office said in a press release the new rule “restricts access to critical preventive healthcare and access to birth control and prohibits doctors from providing accurate information for patients and referrals for abortion.”
“The Trump-Pence Administration has doubled down on its attacks on women’s health,” Becerra said in a statement. “The Trump-Pence Administration’s sabotage of Title X services that millions of women across our nation rely on is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous to women’s health.”
Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said the new rule is “an attack on over one million low-income Californians who rely on life-saving screenings and care from providers they trust.”
The Hill reported that a separate lawsuit, led by Oregon Democrat Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James, will be filed Tuesday. A coalition of 21 states and the District of Columbia claim the new rule “places an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals.”
“What this new rule means is that providers who receive Title X funding will have to decide whether they will refuse the funding or ‘cave’ to the requirements of this new rule,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “Neither is a good or fair option for women and families who often have no other access to medical care.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, however, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood “have treated the Title X program like their own multimillion-dollar slush fund.”
“Now, Planned Parenthood’s allies are running to court to ensure taxpayers are forced to continue filling the coffers of the abortion industry,” she said, adding the allied states suing the Trump administration are mischaracterizing the new rule as one that is eliminating family planning funding.
“Contrary to pro-abortion misinformation, the Protect Life Rule does not cut Title X funding by a single dime – it simply enforces the existing statute that draws a bright line of separation between abortion and family planning,” Dannenfelser said. “President Trump and Secretary Azar acted on the will of the American people by disentangling taxpayers from the big abortion industry. Similar regulations have already been upheld by the Supreme Court and we are confident the Trump administration will prevail.”
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.”
In addition to Oregon and New York, the coalition lawsuit includes Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.