LOS ANGELES, California, May 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — California’s Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading a coalition of 20 attorneys general, representing 19 states plus Washington, D.C., opposing a Trump administration rule change that prioritizes abstinence education over contraception distribution in family planning funds.
In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that abstinence messages and natural family planning methods would be given priority in distributing $260 million worth of family planning grants. The announcement did not mention artificial birth control.
In response, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) have filed lawsuits arguing that the administration lacks the discretion to make such a change under the terms of the original Title X legislation authorizing the grants.
On Tuesday, Becerra announced that he had filed an amicus brief supporting their lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“By changing the rules, the Trump administration is threatening basic access to essential health care for women and families throughout the country,” Becerra declared. “They're shrinking the universe of services that a woman or family can access — having nothing to do with what's related to wise health care choices.”
AGs representing Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia signed on to the brief.
“Clearly they view the Title X Family Planning Program as their personal slush fund, to which only they are entitled for propping up their massive abortion enterprise,” Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, told NPR. She called the lawsuit “ridiculous.” The Trump administration has declined to comment on the lawsuit so far.
Planned Parenthood has thanked Becerra for joining the dispute on their side, but challengers from both parties have objected to the frequency of his lawsuits against President Donald Trump. The Democrat AG has filed 32 legal actions against the Trump administration over the past year.
“Everything that happens in Washington doesn’t require a lawsuit by the state of California,” Republican attorney general candidate Steven Bailey said in last night’s debate. Democrat challenger Dave Jones said he would “resist” Trump as well, but stressed that “there’s more to the office of attorney general than just suing President Trump.”
The news comes as Trump is set to use Title X as a vehicle to more broadly defund Planned Parenthood, by disqualifying groups that commit or refer abortions from the program, and redirecting the money to health centers that dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations in every state.
The abortion giant is estimated to receive roughly $50 million of its more than $500 million in federal tax dollars from the Title X program. Trump has also pledged to defund Planned Parenthood entirely, though such efforts have stalled in Congress.