April 25, 2019
Carson City, NV - Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and Governor Steve Sisolak issued a joint statement applauding a U.S. District Court's plans to preliminarily halt implementation of the new Title X "Gag Rule." The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' new rule relates to funding for Title X, and affects providers in any clinic receiving Title X funding. If the rule had taken effect, these providers would have been barred from referring a patient for an abortion, even if the patient had requested that information. In many circumstances, the rule would have prohibited providers from even discussing abortion with a patient, and mandated a referral for prenatal care for every pregnant patient, regardless of the needs or wishes of that patient.
The new rule would have significantly restricted access to reproductive health services and information for women and families. The rule was originally scheduled to take effect on May 3, 2019, and was challenged by a coalition of 21 attorneys general, including Attorney General Ford, on March 5, 2019. After more than three and a half hours of oral arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane announced plans to grant the states' request to preliminarily halt implementation of this rule.
"This decision marks a victory for patients and healthcare professionals alike, and the millions of Americans relying on the Title X program should breathe easy knowing we will continue to fight for their access to health care services," said Attorney General Aaron Ford. "Judge McShane's plans to halt this new rule reassures me that our judicial system will prioritize the health care needs of low-income and under-served families over politics."
"All Nevadans deserve accurate and complete information about their health, and I'm proud that Nevada continues to fight on the side of patients and health care providers," added Governor Steve Sisolak. "I'm pleased with the Court's ruling to keep health care decisions between women and their doctors. As long as I'm governor, the State of Nevada will stand up against any misguided attempts to curtail access to accurate health care information and options."
Judge McShane noted that the rule would prevent doctors from complying with their duties as medical professionals by preventing them from providing patients with relevant care and advice, such as referring patients who do not want to continue their pregnancies to an abortion provider. He further stated that the rule represents an "arrogant assumption'' that government is better suited to direct health care than providers.
Currently, Title X is 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, along with other health-related services.
The states' lawsuit alleged that the Title X rule, if implemented, would reduce access and erode the quality of reproductive health care that Title X was originally intended to provide care 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.
In addition to Nevada, the following states and territories are participating in this lawsuit: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.