In April, district courts in Washington State, Oregon, and California blocked a Trump administration rule that makes harmful changes to the federal funding of women’s health services. Those decisions were recently appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We filed amicus briefs arguing that the preliminary injunctions should be affirmed.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) imposed onerous restrictions on the federal Title X program including severely limiting providers’ ability to provide patient-requested abortion referrals. HHS’s rule would likely force the shutdown of some family planning clinics and close off access to others for low-income women. We filed briefs in four separate district court cases, arguing that the rule should be blocked. Three district courts granted injunctions. The Eastern District of Washington referred to our brief in the reasoning for its decision. The Northern District of California’s ruling cites our brief and devotes a lengthy discussion to the arguments we advanced.
Since then, the decisions were appealed. We submitted amicus briefs to the Ninth Circuit on each of the appeals, providing 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. By ignoring best practices and relying on unfounded estimates of costs and benefits, HHS provides a flawed justification of the final rule.