Leading what is expected to be a national battle over the issue, California on Monday sued the Trump administration seeking to block a new regulation that restricts access to abortion and other family-planning services.
Washington, D.C., and 19 states said they would sue separately in or on Tuesday.
Attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin are also joining Oregon's lawsuit. The regulation, scheduled to go into effect in April, would block about $60 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides and refers for abortions. "Neither is a good or fair option for women and families who often have no other access to medical care".
"What this new rule means is that providers who receive Title X funding will have to decide whether they will refuse the funding or "cave" to the requirements of this new rule", said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
The new rule specifically prohibits "referral for abortion as a method of family planning", but does not bar "nondirective counseling on abortion". A multi-state lawsuit, brought mostly by Democratic-controlled states, is set to be filed Tuesday in federal court in Eugene, Oregon, the NY attorney general's office said in a statement.
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Many abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, receive funding through the federal program Title X, which reimburses clinics for services they provide for low-income and uninsured patients. "We will not stand by as this federal government attacks our rights and our access to health care".
In a statement, Becerra claimed that the rule would deny "patients access to critical health care services and prevents doctors from providing comprehensive and accurate information about medical care". But under the revisions, health care providers who receive Title X funds can not talk about abortion with patients or offer referrals for the procedure. Supporters of the rule, such as Californians for Life, expect funding for faith-based family planning organizations to increase.
Rosenblum's office said that the new rule also mandates that every pregnant patient receive a referral for prenatal care, "regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient".
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called the rule "an attack on over one million low-income Californians who rely on life-saving screenings and care from providers they trust".
"Contrary to pro-abortion misinformation, the Protect Life Rule does not cut Title X funding by a single dime - it simply enforces the existing statute that draws a bright line of separation between abortion and family planning". The law already bans the use of Title X funds to pay for abortions.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and American Civil Liberties Union have also said they will sue over the administration's final rule, according to the Post. "It's unethical, and it flies in the face of the oath I took to care for my patients", Dr. Erin Berry said at a news conference last week.