Manhattan-based Public Health Solutions and the New York Civil Liberties Union, along with the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s refusal-of-care rule.
The lawsuit alleges that the final rule recently issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will threaten the plaintiffs’ ability to provide “essential, potentially life-saving medical care.” The plaintiffs said it’s designed to “dramatically expand” health care facilities’ ability to refuse care and even information to patients if they cite a moral or religious objection.
Additionally, the plaintiffs argued in their complaint, the rule will have a “devastating impact” on the federally-funded Title X family-planning program. The rule will force Title X providers, including the plaintiffs, “to hire and employ individuals who will withhold and obstruct access to complete, accurate and unbiased information about abortion from their patients,” the plaintiffs stated.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America also filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the rule. The new lawsuits closely follow one filed late last monthagainst the refusal-of-care rule by New York City, state Attorney General Letitia James and more than 20 other states and municipalities.
That suit alleges the rule puts providers above patients, undermines the plaintiffs’ ability to administer health care systems and could keep the plaintiffs from getting hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funds each year if the department finds they’ve failed to comply with the rule.
“Personal views do not give people the right to withhold critical health care or endanger others’ lives,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, in a statement. “This is just the latest in the Trump administration’s continued attack on women and LGBTQ people, and New Yorkers won’t stand for it.”