Wisconsin Joins 20 AG’s Challenging New Title X Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Health Care

Mar 5 2019

MADISON, Wis – A coalition of 21 State Attorneys Generals today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Title X “Gag Rule” that will significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information for women and families. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon and led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and New York Attorney General Letitia James. The complaint can be found here


The rule relates to funding for Title X, 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, and other related health services.


“All Wisconsinites should have access to safe, quality health care, including family planning services,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “But if the new rules for the Title X program aren’t blocked, quality health care will become less accessible. Those changes are unlawful, and they should be set aside.”


The lawsuit filed today alleges 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 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.


Governor Evers voiced his support, saying, “Healthcare access shouldn’t be political -- all patients deserve access to unbiased, medically accurate, comprehensive care. The Trump administration’s new rules would make it harder for thousands of Wisconsinites to access the critical family planning and preventative health services our Title X clinics provide each year.”


Under the new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, providers in any clinic that receives Title X funding will be barred from referring a patient for an abortion (even if she requests that information), and in many circumstances even discussing an abortion with a patient. The new rule also mandates a referral for prenatal care for every pregnant patient, regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient.


Joining Wisconsin in the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association also today filed a parallel lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon.