Chicago Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new rule Title X "Gag Rule" that will significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information for women and families.
Raoul and the coalition filed the lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association also filed a parallel lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court in Eugene. 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.
"Title X allows the state of Illinois to provide critical funding to 28 agencies around the state, which provide vital health care services to tens of thousands of Illinois' most vulnerable residents," Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. "Those who will suffer the most under the administration's proposed rule are those who can least afford it: women, children and men who are uninsured, underinsured or living at or below the federal poverty level."
The lawsuit 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 relationship between patients and health care providers by limiting what a doctor can say to a patient.
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 Raoul in filing the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.