Trump Administration Issues Final Rule on Title X, Newsom Administration Plans to Sue

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rule regarding the Title X family planning program. The final rule, set to be published in the Federal Register next week, prohibits Title X providers from referring patients to certain reproductive health services and limits sites that are eligible to receive Title X funds. Clinic sites that refer patients to other facilities for abortion services will no longer qualify for Title X funds to provide low-income women with comprehensive family planning and other preventive services including breast exams, cancer screening, and sexually transmitted disease/infection testing.

The final rule also removes the requirement that Title X clinics offer pregnancy options counseling to pregnant women that include abortion, adoption, and prenatal care referrals and promotes the participation of organizations offering natural family planning or abstinence as a method of family planning.

In California, eight LHDs are Title X subgrantees, delivering reproductive health services to residents at 46 sites in those jurisdictions. LHDs that are not subgrantees work closely with community-based Title X providers to ensure access to essential health services. In July 2018, CHEAC submitted a letter of concerns to HHS about its then-proposed Title X regulations highlighting the important role of LHDs in providing comprehensive reproductive health services and expressing concern with the potential impact on California’s public health infrastructure.

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary indicated that California plans to sue the Trump Administration over its issuance of the final rule. During an event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), O’Leary called the final rule “unconstitutional” and indicated other states, such as Washington and New York, plan to pursue legal action against the federal administration, as well.

The final rule will take effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Additional information on the final rule is available from HHS here.