Oregon Leads Fight to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care

December 1, 2021
• Posted in

Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum this week co-led a coalition of 24 Democratic attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the case Ohio v. BecerraThe Ohio lawsuit was brought by Republican attorneys general who want to overturn a 2021 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Title X rule that recently went into effect and eliminated harmful restrictions on family planning programs put in place by the Trump Administration. The amicus brief defends the 2021 rule because of its importance to the Title X program.

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 health services. In 2019, Oregon co-led 21 states in a lawsuit against the original HHS rule that significantly altered the Title X family planning program.

“The grants at the heart of the Title X program are a true safety net for low-income women and families. We fought the Title X ‘gag rule’ imposed by the Trump administration in 2019, and we will keep fighting to ensure this crucial program is maintained with sufficient providers all across the country,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

The new HHS rule broadens the scope of federal grants under Title X, in part, by eliminating the harmful provisions of the 2019 Trump Administration rule — also known as the ‘gag rule’. The 2019 rule was referred to as the ‘gag rule’ because it placed an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals and prohibited them from sharing information or even a referral for abortion services.

The coalition of attorneys general argues that the plaintiffs’ proposed injunction would put patients and providers in harm’s way by returning to the 2019 Trump Administration rule, which caused dramatic loss of Title X providers and a substantial decrease in patient visits and health care services. Underserved communities were especially 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.

Joining Oregon and Attorney General Rosenblum in filing today’s brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.