“Reproductive health care freedom must be preserved, and part of that freedom includes making sure that women are provided with all of their options when it comes to family planning,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha. “We cannot create barriers to access women’s healthcare. It is vital that we take a proactive approach on this front.”

A coalition of 21 State Attorneys General today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new rule Title XGag Rule” that will significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information for women and families. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon and led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association also today filed a parallel lawsuit in the United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon.

The rule relates to funding for Title X, the only federal grant program that funds family planning programs to help patients access contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-woman exams, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and other related health services.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that the Title X rule, if implemented, would reduce access and erode the quality of reproductive health care that Title X was originally intended to provide care for low income individuals. The new rule would also interfere with the health care provider and patient relationship, by limiting what a doctor can say to a patient.

Under the new rule issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, providers in any clinic that receives Title X funding will be barred from referring a patient for an abortion (even if she requests that information), and in many circumstances even discussing an abortion with a patient. The new rule also mandates a referral for prenatal care for every pregnant patient, regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient.

Joining Oregon in the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

[From a press release]