Oregon Files National Lawsuit to Protect Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Care

March 5, 2019
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Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association also file a parallel lawsuit in Oregon

Today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new Title X “gag rule” that will significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information for women and families. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon and joined by 21 states’ Attorneys General.

The complaint can be found here.

The rule relates to funding for Title X, the only federal grant program that funds family planning programs to help patients access contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-woman exams, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and other related health services.

“We will not stand by as the Trump Administration delivers another yet roadblock to accessing health care services that patients need to thrive,” said Governor Brown. “I am committed to protecting access to family planning, reproductive, and preventive health care for low-income and underserved Oregonians, and I am proud to join so many of my fellow Governors in this fight.”

“We are proud to lead this national lawsuit and to file it here in Oregon. Oregonians have voted time and time again to support women’s reproductive health freedoms. These are our Oregon values.  Every patient deserves to have candid conversations with her doctor about her medical care. If this rule is implemented, it will be devastating to health care clinics which depend on Title X funds to serve countless families in every state,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that the new rule, if implemented, would reduce access and erode the quality of reproductive health care that Title X was originally intended to provide for low-income individuals. The new rule would also interfere with the health care provider and patient relationship, by limiting what a doctor can say to a patient.

Under the new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, providers in any clinic that receives Title X funding will be barred from referring a patient for an abortion (even if she requests that information), and in many circumstances even discussing an abortion with a patient. The new rule also mandates a referral for prenatal care for every pregnant patient, regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient.

In 2017, Oregon’s Title X clinics served 37,012 patients, and last fiscal year Oregon received over $3 million in Title X funds. Oregon has received funding for Title X services in Oregon since 1970, and Title X clinics are located in almost every county in Oregon. The program is administered by the Oregon Health Authority’s Reproductive Health Program. Two-thirds of the patients served at Oregon’s Title X clinics are at, or below, 100 percent of the federal poverty level and 95 percent were below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association also today filed a parallel lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.