Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin 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 federal 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 under insured patients. The new set of requirements put forward by the 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.
"For more than five decades, Title X has provided equal access to family planning and sexual health services to those who are low-income and uninsured, and this move to strip access to these critical services only hurts the vulnerable populations it was established to protect," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
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 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.
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 Administration. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 2, 2018, 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, specifically abstinence or natural family planning.
Joining Attorney General Kilmartin in filing today's motion are the Attorneys General of: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.