Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
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For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CONTINUES FIGHT TO PROTECT WOMEN’S ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE
~ Herring joins multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief against the Trump Administration’s Title X rule; before the new rule took effect, the Title X family planning program served four million patients nationwide ~
RICHMOND (May 1, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a coalition of 23 states in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, supporting the City of Baltimore in its lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s Title X rule. The new rule restricts access to critical preventative reproductive healthcare by prohibiting doctors from providing referrals for abortion or offering complete information to patients about their family planning options. In the brief, the 23-state coalition explains that the new rule endangers the health, well-being, and economic security of their residents, leaving patients in entire regions and states nationwide without providers. Previously, Attorney General Herring secured a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s Title X “Gag Rule”. The coalition urges the Court to uphold a lower court ruling halting implementation of the Title X rule.
“The Trump Administration has made numerous attempts to limit a woman’s ability to make her own informed decisions about her body and her reproductive healthcare,” said Attorney General Herring. “What a woman chooses to do with her body should be between her and her doctors, without interference from the government. I will not stop fighting against the Trump Administration’s illegal and misguided policy changes that put the health of women in Virginia and around the country in danger and jeopardize the relationships between women and their doctors.”
The Title X family planning program is instrumental in the states’ efforts to deliver preventative and reproductive healthcare to low-income women and families. Over the last 50 years, Title X has created a strong network of medical providers committed to delivering high-quality, evidence-based preventative health services. Prior to 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. The Trump Administration’s new Title X Rule, however, has harmed the Title X program nationwide.
Since the new Title X Rule went into effect, the states’ Title X programs have been upended, with many qualified providers leaving the program. 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. Further, new providers have not filled the gap caused by the withdrawals. As a result, states have faced increased burdens to meet residents’ needs for essential healthcare.
In 2017, more than 50,000 Virginians received care through the Title X program, 65% of whom were uninsured, and in 38% of Virginia localities the Title X provider is the only public healthcare provider.
Additionally, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues note that in light of the recent pandemic, clinic withdrawals from the Title X program place an additional strain on health systems nationwide. Due to COVID-19, many people have lost insurance coverage or are experiencing financial instability due to unemployment and could benefit from Title X’s low-cost services.
Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Nevada, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
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