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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


~ The proposed “Gag Rule” would have significantly restricted access to reproductive health services and information for women and families ~

RICHMOND (April 29, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced that he and his colleagues have won a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s Title X “Gag Rule” that would have significantly restricted access to reproductive health services and information for women and families. Attorney General Herring announced in March that he had joined 21 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the new rule. Since the rule’s passage, Planned Parenthood Virginia was rejected as a Title X grantee for the upcoming three year competitive grant cycle, ending years of funding from the program. As a result, the Virginia Department of Health has been working to find ways to replace the loss in Title X coverage. The Court issued its opinion today granting the preliminary injunction and, because the case had plaintiffs operating in every state, the relief was issued on a nationwide basis.


The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon and sought to halt the Trump Administration’s changes to Title X that froze out healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood and limited the information and range of healthcare services that low-income Virginians may receive through the Title X program. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association filed a parallel lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Eugene.


“Once again, the Court has deemed the Trump Administration’s attempts to limit a woman’s ability to make her own, informed decisions about her health unlawful,” said Attorney General Herring. “My colleagues and I will not stop fighting against illegal and misguided policies that put the health of women across the country in danger and jeopardize the important relationship between a patient and her doctor.”


The proposed rule related 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 alleged 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 for low income individuals. The proposed rule would also have interfered with the health care provider and patient relationship, by limiting what a doctor can say to a patient.


Under the proposed rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, providers in any clinic that receives Title X funding would have been 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 rule also mandated a referral for prenatal care for every pregnant patient, regardless of the needs or the wishes of the patient.


In 2017, more than 50,000 Virginians received care through the Title X program, 65% of whom were uninsured, and in 38% of Virginia localities the Title X provider is the only public healthcare provider. Attorney General Herring had previously promised to protect the Title X program from the Trump Administration’s proposed changed, and submitted official comments opposing the proposed changes. 


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


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