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Court Blocks Rule Making Harmful Changes to Title X Women’s Health Services

The Institute for Policy Integrity helped contribute to a significant legal victory, as district courts in Washington State, Oregon, and California blocked a Trump administration rule that makes harmful changes to federally-funded women’s health services. In February, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced onerous restrictions to its Title X program, likely forcing the shutdown of some family planning clinics and closing off access to others for low-income women. We submitted comments on the rule and amicus briefs supporting requests for preliminary injunction in four court cases. The Eastern District of Washington refers to our brief in the reasoning for its decision to grant an injunction. The Northern District of California’s ruling cites our brief and devotes a lengthy discussion to the arguments we advanced.

In our amicus brief, we provided the court with context on the legal and economic standards for regulatory impact analysis to detail how HHS’s assessment of the Title X rule thoroughly flunks those standards. Despite the rule’s dire implications for federally-funded women’s health services, HHS unreasonably concludes that the rule would impose no costs on public health or patient wellbeing. The Northern District of California’s ruling adopted our reasoning that the rule’s claimed benefits were unsubstantiated and speculative, its compliance costs were not adequately considered, and its costs to patient health were ignored.

In total, we filed amicus briefs in Title X cases in the Eastern District of Washington, the District of Oregon, Northern District of California, and the District of Maine. We had previously submitted comments on the rule and Jack Lienke discussed its flaws in an LA Times op-ed.