Attorney General Mark R. Herring has submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) applauding the agency for its proposed rule to undo the Trump-Pence Administration’s harmful 2019 Title X Rule. The new proposed rule will rectify many of the harms the 2019 Rule caused women, those who live in rural areas, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. Attorney General Herring joins a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing today’s comment letter.
“Ten of thousands of women relied on the family planning and healthcare programs under Title X to receive crucial preventative and reproductive healthcare, in addition to access to birth control and important information about their healthcare options,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Trump Administration’s changes to Title X were detrimental to the health of low-income communities in Virginia and around the country and I am pleased to see that the Biden Administration and HHS have proposed a new rule to rollback those damaging changes. I remain committed to doing all I can to protect Virginia women’s access to quality, affordable healthcare services and information.”
The Title X program funds not only family planning counseling and access to various contraceptive methods, but also critical screenings for high blood pressure, anemia, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, as well as cervical and breast cancer. The Trump Administration’s 2019 Rule led to a dramatic loss of Title X providers nationwide. Due to this loss of providers, the number of clients served by the program dropped by 60 percent from 2018 to 2020. As a result, low-income, uninsured, and racial and ethnic minorities’ access to Title X family planning services has decreased.
HHS’s new proposed rule would put the Title X program back on track to providing underserved communities with quality and accessible medical care. For example, the rule would allow Title X clinics to:
- Share information with patients about their reproductive healthcare choices and available, high quality providers;
- Provide a referral for an abortion, if requested by the patient;
- Provide pregnant patients referrals to prenatal care, if requested by the patient; and
- Remove the current required physical and financial separation of Title X funded services from abortion care.
In today’s letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues support HHS’s decision to readopt the original Title X regulations that took effect in 2000 and the proposed revisions that would ensure access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality family planning services; including the rule’s focus on advancing health equity and reducing barriers to care and health disparities among underserved communities.
Previously, Attorney General Herring secured a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s Title X “Gag Rule”. Attorney General Herring also filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit supporting the City of Baltimore in its lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s Title X rule. In October 2020, Attorney General Herring filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in seeking review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision to uphold the Trump Administration’s Title X rule.
Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.