Nevada and California Co-Lead Multistate Amicus Brief Supporting Challenge to Harmful Trump-Pence Administration Title X Rule

May 1, 2020

Before the rule took effect, the Title X family planning program served four million patients nationwide

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a multistate amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, supporting the City of Baltimore in its lawsuit against the Trump-Pence Administration’s Title X rule. The new rule restricts access to critical preventive reproductive healthcare by prohibiting doctors from providing referrals for abortion or offering complete information to patients about their family planning options. In the brief, the 23 state coalition explains that the new rule endangers the health, well-being and economic security of their residents, leaving patients in entire regions and states nationwide without providers. The attorneys general urge the Court to uphold a lower court ruling halting implementation of the Title X rule.

“Politics has no place in the doctor’s office, and I’m proud to lead an effort to fight misguided attempts to prevent families from receiving accurate information and options about their healthcare,” said Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “Millions of low-income and under-served families rely on Title X for access to a broad range of health services, and my office will use every means to ensure their rights are protected.” 

“With this rule, the Trump-Pence Administration has upended the Title X program, which provides critical reproductive and preventative health services to low-income women and families across the nation,” added California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “At a time when many Americans are facing uncertainty in both their health and finances due to the coronavirus, programs that provide low-cost healthcare, like Title X, are more critical than ever. Our coalition stands with the millions of women and families across the nation who rely on Title X for healthcare services in urging the Court to halt this harmful rule.”

The Title X family planning program is instrumental in the states’ efforts to deliver preventative and reproductive healthcare to low-income women and families. Over the last 50 years, Title X has created a strong network of medical providers committed to delivering high-quality, evidence-based preventive health services. Prior to 2019, the Title X program funded a wide array of critical public health services, including family planning counseling, access to FDA-approved contraceptive methods, pelvic exams and crucial screenings for high blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and cervical and breast cancer. The Trump-Pence Administration’s new Title X Rule, however, has harmed the Title X program nationwide.

Since the new Title X Rule went into effect, the states’ Title X programs have been upended, with many qualified providers leaving the program. In 13 states, more than 50 percent of Title X grantees have withdrawn from the program, and several states no longer have any Title X providers. Furthermore, new providers have not filled the gap caused by the withdrawals. As a result, states have faced increased burdens to meet residents’ needs for essential healthcare. 

The coalition also notes that in light of the recent pandemic, clinic withdrawals from the Title X program place an additional strain on health systems nationwide. Due to COVID-19, many people have lost insurance coverage or are experiencing financial instability due to unemployment and could benefit from Title X’s low-cost services. 

Today’s brief is the latest step in AG Ford’s efforts to protect the Title X program. On March 5, 2019, AG Ford joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new proposed rule in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon. This lawsuit remains ongoing. 

In addition to Nevada and California, other states participating in this brief include: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the filed amicus brief is attached.