In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supporting a proposed rule that would undo the Trump Administration’s efforts to effectively dismantle Title X, a national family planning program that provides millions of dollars to help low-income women across the country access health care services.
“Trump’s harmful gag rule denied access to critical health care services for low-income, Black and brown, and LGBTQ+ communities all over the country,” AG Healey said. “We are thrilled the Biden Administration moved swiftly to restore the vital and successful Title X program.”
The Trump Administration’s regulations included a “gag rule” that effectively bans Title X providers from discussing safe and legal abortions with their patients, regardless of the provider’s judgement or the patient’s wishes.
Prior to the Trump Administration’s gag rule, Massachusetts received more than $4 million annually in Title X funding that allowed more than 90 service sites in the state to offer a wide range of services including pregnancy testing, contraceptive services, routine gynecological care, anemia, diabetes, cervical and breast cancer screenings, infertility services, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and health education.
Services provided through the federal Title X program helped avert thousands of unintended pregnancies in the state each year. By reducing the number of unintended pregnancies in low-income populations that rely on MassHealth, Title X saved the state and the federal government an estimated $150 million a year. In 2019, AG Healey successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation that provided funding to Massachusetts Title X clinics to allow them to continue to provide these services.
HHS’s Proposed Rule would put the Title X program back on track to providing underserved communities across the country 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, the attorneys general 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 family planning services, and the rule’s focus on advancing health equity and reducing barriers to care and health disparities among underserved communities.
AG Healey was part of the coalition of 21 attorneys general who sued to challenge the Trump Administration’s regulations in March 2019.
Joining AG Healey in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.