Seven States’ Attorneys General Also File Suit
Roger Evans, PPFA senior director for Public Policy Litigation and Law, gives us the truth behind Bush’s last-minute regulation.
What Did the Regulation Do?
Where Does the Regulation Stand Now?
What Happens Next?
Hartford, CT — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Planned Parenthood of Connecticut filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut asking the court to invalidate the administrative regulation finalized in December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The midnight regulation, issued by the outgoing Bush administration, poses a serious threat to women’s health care by limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate health information and services.
“We filed this lawsuit today on behalf of the millions of women whose health care has been put in jeopardy by the Bush administration’s parting shot at women’s health. As a critical provider of health care information and services for women, Planned Parenthood cannot simply stand back and let this harmful regulation go into effect,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards.
“Every day, women and men who walk through Planned Parenthood health center doors are confident that they will receive complete and accurate health information and services,” said Richards. “That is our priority, and it should be a shared priority among all those committed to strengthening public health. Unfortunately, this new rule puts this critical priority at risk.”
The complaint charges that the final regulation goes far beyond the intent of Congress when it enacted the laws in question. The regulation is in conflict with other existing laws and regulations. In addition, in its rush to finalize the regulation, HHS failed to follow the appropriate regulatory steps, including failing to respond adequately to the many comments that raised significant problems with the regulation.
Also today, the Connecticut attorney general, joined by the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island filed a separate but parallel legal action challenging the regulation. These states have taken proactive steps in enacting legislation that protects patients’ access to vital health care services and information — for example, laws that guarantee rape survivors have access to emergency contraception in emergency rooms. The HHS regulation poses a serious barrier to the states’ enforcement of their laws protecting patients.
“The courts must strike down this unconscionable, unconstitutional last-minute midnight rule — a final swipe by the Bush administration at women’s health rights,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. “The federal government is impermissibly interfering with carefully crafted and balanced state measures protecting patients and women, particularly rape victims who may require immediate access to emergency contraception.”
In addition to the legal challenges brought by PPFA and the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, represented by the ACLU, has filed a separate legal challenge to the Bush rule.
May 14, 2014