Press Release

Essential Access Health Returns to Court to Permanently Halt Implementation of Trump’s Title X Regulations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2020
Contact: Amy Moy, 415.518.4465

Statement from Essential Access Health’s President + CEO, Julie Rabinovitz After Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing in District Court in San Francisco

“Today we made a strong case that the Trump administration’s Title X regulations are unlawful and must be vacated in their entirety.

“The regulations deny Title X patients comprehensive and accurate information about their pregnancy options. This isn’t just wrong, it is in direct conflict with current law and prevailing medical ethics standards and best practices.

“The federal government has no business getting in the way of a woman’s ability to make personal decisions about her health. Although elections have consequences, regulations released from any administration must be informed by evidence-based findings, not political ideology or agendas that delay access to essential services.

“Trump’s Title X regulations have already devastated the Title X family planning safety net nationwide. The number of patients served by the program in California has been reduced by 40%, disproportionately impacting underserved and rural areas, and communities of color. California’s statewide Title X network could be dismantled even further, if the regulations are not halted prior to March 4, when the physical separation requirements are scheduled to take effect.

“As the largest Title X provider network in the nation, we will fight to the end to protect Title X’s mandate to provide comprehensive family planning services for all, for generations to come.”

Background

Essential Access Health has been the statewide Title X grantee in California since the program was established 50 years ago in 1970. Essential Access distributed Title X funding to a statewide network to support the delivery of essential health services including birth control, STD and pregnancy tests, and life-saving cancer screenings.

Our lawsuit, Essential Access Health v. Azar, includes co-plaintiff Dr. Melissa Marshall, a family medicine doctor practicing at a Title X-funded health center in Yolo County, California. Essential Access Health and Dr. Marshall are represented by a team at the law firm Keker, Van Nest & Peters, led by Michelle Ybarra.

Case Timeline

  • May 22, 2018 – The United States Department of Health and Human Services released proposed Title X regulations that introduced some of the most sweeping and extreme changes in the history of the program
  • July 30, 2018 – Essential Access Health submitted public comments outlining the harms the proposed regulations would cause in California and across the country
  • February 22, 2019 – Final Title X regulations released on the Office of Population Affairs website
  • March 4, 2019 – Final regulations officially published in the Federal Register; Essential Access and Dr. Marshall filed suit in federal court
  • March 21, 2019 – Essential Access Health and Dr. Marshall moved the court for a preliminary injunction blocking the final regulations while the lawsuit is considered
  • April 18, 2019 – Oral arguments presented in preliminary injunction hearing
  • April 26, 2019 – Preliminary injunction granted
  • May 3, 2019 – Date regulations were scheduled to take effect
  • June 20, 2019 – A motions panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit lifts the preliminary injunction
  • July 3, 2019 – The Ninth Circuit granted an emergency motion for re-hearing of the motions panel’s order
  • July 11, 2019 – En banc panel of Ninth Circuit judges denied the request to restore the preliminary injunction that had been set aside by the motions panel’s stay while the rehearing process moved forward
  • July 26, 2019 – Planned Parenthood Federation of America, joined by litigation partners including the American Medical Association and National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, file a petition requesting reconsideration of the en banc panel’s July 11 order by the full Ninth Circuit
  • September, 23, 2019 – En banc panel of Ninth Circuit judges heard oral arguments on the request for reconsideration of the June 20 motion’s panel’s decision lifting the preliminary injunction
  • February 20, 2020 – Hearing in Federal District Court on Essential Access Health’s motion for summary judgment

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Essential Access Health (Essential Access) champions and promotes quality sexual and reproductive health care for all. Essential Access achieves its mission through an umbrella of programs and services, including health center support initiatives, provider training, advanced clinical research, public policy and outreach, and awareness campaigns. Essential Access leads the statewide Title X program in California – the largest Title X system in the nation - that collectively served 650,000 low-income Californians in 2019.

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