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Acting A.G. Underwood Joins 20 Attorneys General In Urging National Injunction To Protect Women's Access To Family Planning

News from the New York Attorney General's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov

ACTING A.G. UNDERWOOD JOINS 20 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN URGING NATIONAL INJUNCTION TO PROTECT WOMEN’S ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING

More Than 4 Million Americans and Hundreds of Thousands of New Yorkers Rely on Title X Funding, Which is Currently Being Threatened by Trump-Pence Administration

NEW YORK – Acting Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood joined a coalition of 20 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in support of a nationwide preliminary injunction that would block a recent attempt by the Trump-Pence administration to reduce access to Title X, the nation’s family planning program. Title X provides family planning services, including birth control and other critical preventive care, to uninsured and underinsured patients. The new set of requirements put forward by the Trump administration would jeopardize the lives and the health of millions of low-income women and families across the United States by threatening funding for birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment. 

“Access to family planning services is vital to women’s health,” said Acting Attorney General Underwood. “Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on Title X funding. Reducing access to this critical preventative care would be devastating to the health and wellbeing of low-income communities.” 

On February 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new set of requirements that would strip away funding for women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood, and instead provide funding for natural family planning methods and abstinence-only education. The new requirements threaten funding for comprehensive reproductive healthcare centers and instead favor facilities that do not provide women with fact-based information or comprehensive healthcare.

In New York, 173 Title X clinic sites served over 300,000 patients last year; nearly 90% had incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level, and 13% of all patients received their services at no cost. As of 2015, eight rural areas in New York had Title X clinics as their only publicly-funded clinics.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, along with the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, are challenging the Trump-Pence Administration. In a May 2nd filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, these organizations argue that new funding requirements for Title X are in conflict with the underlying Title X statute and regulations. The plaintiffs also claim that the Administration has no clear basis for the policy change, and the resulting requirements are arbitrary and capricious. Lastly, they argue that the new criteria improperly change the nature of Title X funding. The current statute requires providers who receive Title X funding to provide patients with a range of family planning methods, yet the new requirements would emphasize only one set of family planning options (abstinence or natural family planning).

Joining Acting Attorney General Underwood in filing today’s motion are the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.