ASRM Joins Briefs Challenging Administration’s Title X Regulations and Calls on Congress to Support the Program

Today, ASRM joined with 30 other healthcare organizations, to file amicus briefs in three states, Washington, Oregon and California, all within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court, in cases against HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The briefs are in response to extensive changes to the federally funded family planning program, commonly referred to as Title X, that the Administration announced in February. The final rule dictates that any organization which provides or refers patients for abortions would be ineligible to receive federal funding to provide services including contraception, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections and cancer.

In April, a federal judge blocked the implementation of the Administration’s regulation in the three states, however a panel of three judges overruled that decision, upholding the Administration’s rule. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco vacated that decision and ruled that the full panel of eleven judges will reconsider lawsuits being brought by civil rights and health organizations. Until then, the rule is on hold.

The briefs argue that the new Title X regulations “will force health centers to choose between allowing federal regulations to dictate what they discuss with their patients and losing a critical source of revenue that supports patient care.”  Moreover, by “reducing and in some places eliminating access to quality reproductive care that current Title X sites provide, the regulations will exacerbate the health disparities that people of color experience.”  The Title X program serves the needs of approximately 4 million people annually.

Separately, ASRM was among 20 health professional organizations to sign a coalition letter urging the Senate appropriators to include language in the FY 2020 funding measure to support the Title X Family Planning program and to ensure that no funds be used to implement the Administration’s final rule.

ASRM President Peter Schlegel, MD said, “ASRM is pleased to join other health care and patients’ rights organizations in fighting to protect the most vulnerable patients and their right to have access to vital reproductive services.”

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