OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today defended access to essential, federally funded preventative care and family planning services provided by the Title X program. Attorney General Bonta and Attorney General of New York Letitia James leads coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing amicus brief in Ohio vs. Becerra before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Brief asks court to affirm district court order denying Ohio’s motion to freeze U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Title X Final Rule 2021 pending litigation is in progress. Attorneys general argue that the new Title X rule, which was implemented in November 2021, removed the Trump administration’s harmful restrictions on family planning funding and ensured the distribution of Title X funds to more family planning and health service providers providing care. to millions of low-income or uninsured people.
“A strong Title X program helps ensure that individuals and families have access to quality health services and is a vital resource for underserved communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Title X clinics are a lifeline for people entering the program, as it is often their only source of medical care. Since the rule was implemented in November 2021, in California, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking medical care under the program. We know this is consistent with national trends. The data is clear: Title X is a necessity, not a luxury. We support HHS’s efforts to improve this essential program.
The Title X program not only funds family planning counseling and access to various contraceptive methods, but also critical screenings for high blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, as well as cancer cervix and breast. The Trump administration’s 2019 rule resulted in a dramatic loss of Title X providers nationwide. Due to this loss of providers, the number of clients served by the program fell by 60% from 2018 to 2020. As this federal safety net was removed from the states, access for low-income racial and ethnic minorities, uninsured and Title X family planning services declined.
In May 2021, Attorney General Bonta co-led a coalition of attorneys general in submitting a comment letter at HHS commending the agency for its work to overturn the Trump administration’s 2019 rule through the enactment of its proposed new rule. In November 2021, HHS implemented its final ruling allowing Title X clinics to share information with their patients about their reproductive health care options; provide patients with abortion referrals, upon request; provide referrals to pregnant patients for prenatal care; and remove the physical separation of Title X funded services from abortion care.
Since the implementation of the final rule in November 2021, Title X providers have increased nationwide as clinics once again take advantage of the coverage provided and offer more affordable patient services. Prior to the rule’s implementation, California had 242 clinic sites receiving Title X funding. Just months after the 2021 rule’s implementation, the number of clinic sites grew to 396, an increase more than 160. Between 2021 and 2022, the number of patients in California receiving Title X services more than doubled, from 222,154 to 500,000.
In December 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stay enforcement of the 2021 Title X rule. The court dismissed legal challenges plaintiffs against the new HHS rule and the plaintiffs’ argument that the 2021 rule would cause irreparable harm. The plaintiffs appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In today’s amicus brief, the attorneys general say granting Ohio’s motion to freeze the 2021 rule would undo the positive impact of its reinstatement. The 2021 Title X rule restored protections for quality preventive health care essential to the daily functions of thriving and healthy communities. Freezing the rule now and reversing the lower court’s decision would hurt women, those living in rural areas, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community, and push state health care budgets again. on the verge of exhaustion.
The California Department of Justice has fought to defend access to Title X services since the Trump administration introduced its 2019 rule. Attorney General Bonta has continued that fight and has been a strong supporter and advocate of the access to quality reproductive health care.
- In November 2021, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in the filing of an amicus brief urging the Seventh Circuit to suspend certain regulations passed in Indiana that restrict access to abortion, arguing that several provisions of state laws place an undue burden on the ability individuals to exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability.
- In October 2021, Attorney General Bonta took action against Senate Bill 8 – the unconstitutional ban on abortion in Texas – by join an amicus brief in support of protesters of the law and urging the United States Supreme Court restore an injunction prohibiting the application of the law.
Attorney General Bonta and Attorney General Letitia James are joined by the Attorneys General of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan , Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina. , Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.