The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Northern California against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the first volley of what is expected to be a barrage of litigation by states, family-planning groups and others challenging restrictions prohibiting clinics that receive federal family-planning money from offering abortions or referring women to abortion services.
The American Civil Liberties Union has also pledged to challenge the new rule in court. Under current law, these funds may not be used to pay for abortions.
Title X funds go to clinics in mostly rural and underserved areas and treat an estimated 4 million mostly low-income patients.
Called the "gag rule" by its opponents, a new requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) limits health care providers' ability to educate their patients about abortion as an option. Each year the program serves about 4 million women across the US, a lot of them with poverty-level incomes. Rosenblum said the rule would force providers who receive funding to decide whether they will refuse it or "cave" to the new requirements.
On Monday, 21 states announced they would be filing a federal lawsuit Tuesday in OR, arguing the rule imposes "an unlawful and unethical restriction on health care professionals".
The new rule will cause high-quality family planning providers to flee the Title X program, according to the California suit.
FILE - In this February 15, 2019 file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Becerra and other Democratic lawmakers are seeking to overturn new obstacles the Trump administration set up for women seeking abortions, including barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals. Critics say a "gag rule" in the regulations that runs counter to medical ethics will prevent Planned Parenthood from referring women to health-care providers that perform abortions and authorizes providers to give only biased, one-sided information about carrying a pregnancy to term.
The states will file their suit in a U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, Tuesday.
"The Trump-Pence Administration has doubled down on its attacks on women's health", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, said he supports the rule change because there needs to be a firewall between federal funds and abortion services.
"President Trump has made a decision to attack a program that helps to ensure that every person has access to basic, preventive and reproductive health care", Siebel Newsom said. "The gag rule is unethical and will have a disastrous impact on the populations most in need of basic health care".
The lawsuits seek an injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect.
Title X debuted in the 1970s and provides reproductive health services for millions of low-income individuals each year through independent clinics. Clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood, that received funding in September will run out at the end of next month and the new cycle is set to start May 1. "Medical care should be between a woman and her doctor, not the president or the vice president of the United States".