NJ joins lawsuit to block Title X abortion rule change

New Jersey is joining a multistate lawsuit seeking to block new federal restrictions on reproductive health care providers that receive Title X funding, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Wednesday.

The Title X Family Planning Program provides federal grants for reproductive health including contraceptive services, STI testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and cancer screenings.

The proposed rule change from the Trump administration would effectively cut off Title X funding to clinics that perform abortions or give abortion referrals.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “A Title X project may not perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”

The lawsuit against the rule change argues it forces states into an “untenable position” of either ignoring the rule and facing loss of federal funding, or accepting mandates that restrict access to health care.

Last year, 47 family health sites in New Jersey received $8.8 million through Title X funding and provided care for nearly 100,000 residents, many of whom are low income or uninsured.

Title X funding has been restricted from going toward abortions since the program was established in 1970, but facilities that perform abortions have been able to use federal funds for other health services.

Under the rule change, those clinics would have to physically and financially separate abortion and other non-abortion related health care services to continue receiving funding.

The changes are slated to go into effect May 3.