Hawaiʻi joined a coalition of 21 states in challenging a Trump administration's rule restricting tax-funded family planning providers from referring women to abortion services.
The lawsuit, filed today in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, follows similar action by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday aiming to block new family planning requirements from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
“We joined this litigation because the regulations are unconstitutional, were enacted illegally and without any evidentiary basis,” Hawaiʻi Attorney General Clare Connors said in a news release.
“These new rules would, if implemented, directly harm Hawaii families, particularly women, by limiting their access to quality comprehensive health care. The changes would significantly decrease funding for medical services to uninsured, under-insured, and low-income individuals,” she stated.
Oregon and New York are leading the coalition suit. Besides Hawaiʻi, other jurisdictions participating include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The restrictions affect providers that receive Title X funding for reproductive health care covering low-income patients.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services have declined comment on the lawsuits. HHS contends that the new rule "makes notable improvements designed to increase the number of patients served and improve the quality of their care."
The American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood also filed a federal court lawsuit today challenging the new Trump administration rule.
The federal rule is set to go into effect in May unless blocked in court.
Updated March 5, 2019; 11:15 AM (HST)