20 States Plan To Sue HHS Over Efforts To Restrict Abortion Access

Stephen Lam/Getty Images North America

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California and several other Democratic-led states announced they were challenging the Trump administration’s effort to set up obstacles for women seeking abortions, including barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Monday that the state filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco that aims to block a new family planning rule from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The rule shifts millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood to faith-based family planning organizations.

Washington, D.C., and 19 states said they would sue separately in Oregon on Tuesday. The states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Washington’s Democratic attorney general also previously said the state would challenge the rule.

Trump administration officials have told abortion opponents that they expected a number of legal challenges to the new family planning rule, which also prohibits federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same place as abortion providers.

The changes to the federal family planning program are scheduled to go into effect in May unless blocked in court.

California’s attorney general said the new rule affects 4 million mostly low-income women nationwide and 1 million women in California.

“The Trump-Pence administration has doubled down on its attacks on women’s health,” Becerra said.

The lawsuit in California is the latest of dozens of legal challenges that it and other states led by Democrats have filed in a bid to block Trump administration policies.

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