ST. PAUL, MINN—The State of Nebraska joined 11 other states in filing a Federal District Court lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s new Title X rules which would allow Planned Parenthood to re-enter the federal family planning program.
The new Title X rules took effect Monday, lifting a Trump era gag rule that prohibited providers from discussing all pregnancy options, including abortion, and forced Planned Parenthood’s exit from the program. Title X provides low- to no-cost reproductive health care, including annual exams, birth control, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing and treatment, and cancer screenings. The 2019 gag rule went against clinical protocol that has been in place since the program’s founding in 1970.
Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS), a five-state affiliate, announced it will apply to rejoin the nation’s only federal family planning program in Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska now that the gag rule is lifted. The new rule means that thousands in our region will have greater access to high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care. Monday’s lawsuit, however, puts that expanded access at risk.
"This lawsuit is yet another attack on affordable contraception and family planning services” said Sarah A. Stoesz, President of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “The hypocrisy is that the people who oppose affordable reproductive health care and birth control are also trying to eradicate safe, legal abortion. We are in a grave new era where people could be forced into pregnancies and have no say in their futures. Planned Parenthood’s doors are open, and we are not backing down, because every person deserves the right to decide if and when to start a family.”
Despite Title X funds are not used for abortion services, Nebraska and other states in the lawsuit claim the Biden Administration’s new Title X rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to require “meaningful” financial and physical separation between abortion and Title X activities and by requiring Title X recipients to refer patients for abortion upon request. The states asked the court to preliminarily enjoin the new rule, leaving the gag rule in effect.
Nebraska is different in that state lawmakers opposing abortion barred Planned Parenthood in 2018 from receiving Title X dollars, which at the time were managed by the state. Since then, a non-profit group has taken over the program, allowing Planned Parenthood health centers to rejoin Title X.
“We have seen these antics before: these short-sighted politicians tried to control the funding when the state ran the Title X program,” said Andi Curry Grubb, Nebraska Executive Director of PPNCS. “Now they are using this procedural argument to try to prevent people from accessing the essential health care they need. And they are doing it in the middle of a pandemic. This lawsuit is nothing but a desperate attempt to once again control and politicize Title X in Nebraska, just as Planned Parenthood is positioned to rejoin the program. We are hopeful, though, that any and all legal challenges seeking to diminish the impact of this important program will not succeed.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 55,000 people in our region.