Trump Administration Faces Legal Action Over Abortion ‘Gag Rule’

Klarize Medenilla

 

This is an excerpt from an article published in the Asian Journal. Read the rest here.

 

The Trump administration is now facing multiple legal battles over its new rule in Title X, the federal family planning grant program, that would, among other things, cut funding to clinics that provide or refer patients to abortion services.

 

This week, 20 states’ attorneys general — including California AG Xavier Becerra — separately announced they were suing the administration to block these restrictions which potentially toughen access to public reproductive healthcare for lower-income patients.

 

“[The] HHS has exceeded the scope of its statutory authority and acted in a manner that is arbitrary, capricious and not in accordance with law, ” Becerra wrote in a statement released on Monday, adding that the new HHS guidelines deny “access to critical healthcare services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care.”

 

Last month, the administration formally published the new rule, which primarily includes restricting federal funding to healthcare facilities that offer abortion services and prohibiting abortion referrals as a family planning option.

 

It would also reappropriate tens of millions of dollars from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America — which oversees roughly 40 percent of the Title X clinics that offer abortions or referrals — to faith-based healthcare clinics.

 

 

According to the rule announced by the Department of Health and Human Services on Feb. 22, the new mandate “makes notable improvements designed to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care.”

 

The HHS guideline that enforces the rule prohibiting abortion referral notes that, “The final rule does not bar nondirective counseling on abortion, but eliminates the requirement that Title X providers offer abortion counseling and referral. It protects Title X healthcare providers so that they are not required to choose between participating in the program and violating their own consciences by providing abortion counseling and referral.”

 

Monday’s lawsuit marks the 47th lawsuit that the state of California has filed against the Trump administration.

 

In addition to the ongoing legal battle to uphold Obamacare, in 2017, California sued the White House over rules that allowed employers to opt out of providing birth control coverage employees on religious and moral grounds.

 

“We’re ready for this next challenge,” Becerra told reporters in Sacramento on Monday. “We’re ready to stand up for a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decision about her own body.”

 

This is an excerpt from an article published in the Asian Journal. Read the rest here.

 

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