Protecting Title X-Funded Medical Centers
GLAD has joined an amicus brief supporting lawsuits against new regulations that directly restrict and control the type of medical care and counseling patients receive at Title X-funded family planning and reproductive health centers.
Excerpts from the brief:
Certain groups encounter obstacles to obtaining health care in the United States. Women seeking reproductive health care, as well as others who are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, historically have struggled to access essential health care services because of stigma arising from social and political beliefs about sex, gender roles, and childbearing. For LGBTQ people in particular, this stigma, and its detrimental effect on access to basic health care, have led to significant health disparities compared to other populations. Some providers of reproductive health care, including Planned Parenthood affiliates and other Title X grantees, are significantly ameliorating these disparities by providing essential health care to the LGBTQ community. The Department of Health and Human Services’s Final Rule threatens this access to basic health care for many LGBTQ people. The Final Rule should be enjoined, not only because it is contrary to law, but also because it would cause irreparable harm to LGBTQ people. The Final Rule would eliminate health care providers essential to the LGBTQ community, increase health care disparities for LGBTQ people, and violate the equal dignity of Title X patients.
This case concerns recently issued regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department). The district court found that provisions of the Final Rule (DHHS’ new regulations) violate the statutes they purport to implement. First, the district court found that the Gag Rule, which forces medical providers in the Title X family planning program to direct individuals away from obtaining an abortion, violates a statutory provision requiring that all pregnancy counseling be “nondirective.”
Second, the district court found that the physical and financial Separation Requirements, which penalize Title X projects that also provide abortion care, violate a provision in the Affordable Care Act barring the Department from issuing any regulations that create barriers to appropriate medical care or interfere with communications regarding a full range of treatment options between patient and provider.
But the Final Rule does more than violate the law. In addition to these legal violations and the irreparable harms the district court identified, the Final Rule’s restrictions will drive qualified providers from a program designed for underserved communities and will exacerbate the serious health disparities LGBTQ people already experience. Those additional, irreparable harms support an injunction barring the Final Rule from taking effect.