Attorney General Phil Weiser recently joined a coalition of 24 state attorneys general to defend in federal court a 2021 rule put in place by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allows a greater number of health service providers that deliver reproductive healthcare to millions of low-income or uninsured individuals to receive Title X funding.
In part, the new rule eliminates the harmful provisions of the 2019 rule—also known as the “gag rule”—which barred providers at clinics that receive federal Title X funding from referring or discussing an abortion with a patient. Under HHS’s 2021 rule, Title X funds can, once again, go to clinics that do not physically separate non-abortion and abortion services, and that provide referrals to abortion providers at a patient’s request.
The coalition’s amicus brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio argues for the court to reject a request by a group of states to halt the 2021 rule.
“Colorado receives Title X funding every year to support women’s access to critical healthcare services in our state,” Weiser said. “The 2019 gag rule was illegal and wrong, undermining access to women’s health care. Healthcare providers must be able to give accurate medical information to their patients without interference from the federal government. We will continue to fight for women’s healthcare.”
“Colorado receives Title X funding every year to support women’s access to critical healthcare services in our state. The 2019 gag rule was illegal and wrong, undermining access to women’s health care…We will continue to fight for women’s healthcare.”
Attorney General Phil Weiser
Title X is the only federal grant program that funds family planning and counseling programs to help patients access contraception, as well as breast and cervical cancer screenings, screenings and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, and other related health services. The Nov. 30th brief supports the new HHS rule, issued in 2021, that broadens the scope of federal grants under Title X.
The coalition of attorneys general argues that blocking the rule from going into effect would put patients and providers in harm’s way by returning to the 2019 rule, which caused dramatic loss of Title X providers and a substantial decrease in patient visits and health care services provided. Underserved communities were impacted by the loss of essential care, particularly low-income individuals, minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals living with disabilities, minors, and those living in rural areas.
Colorado previously joined 21 other states in filing a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the gag rule.
The brief was led by Attorney General Letitia James of New York, Attorney General Rob Bonta of California, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington. They joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
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