The United States Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the Title X cases involving the Trump administration’s “Gag Rule” prohibiting federally funded family planning clinics and their providers from consulting about or referring patients for abortion services. In 2019, Oregon co-led 21 states in the lawsuit against this U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that altered the Title X family planning program.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane concluded that the rule was likely illegal and should be put on hold while the case proceeded. However, in a 7-4 decision the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and allowed the “ Gag Rule” to go into effect. Many family planning clinics, including in Oregon, withdrew from the Title X program, rather than be subject to the rule’s restrictions.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, at the urging of Oregon and the Biden administration, ensures that our litigation over the prior administrations “Gag Rule” is over. This is the best outcome—and gives family planning programs around the country and in Oregon a path forward by allowing HHS to focus on repealing a rule that has decimated the Title X program,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “The restrictions on medical providers imposed by the “Gag Rule” fundamentally changed the way an important public health program operated for the last thirty years. The grants at the heart of this program are a true safety net for low-income women and families.”
The Title X family planning program is the only federal grant program that funds family planning clinics that help patients access contraception, cancer screenings, exams, and other related health services. The HHS rule was informally called the “Gag Rule” because it placed an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals and prohibited them from sharing information or a referral for abortions services.
Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum led the initial litigation with New York AG Letitia James. Other states that joined the lawsuit included Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.