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Ohio-led coalition of states sues to stop change to family planning funding policy

12 attorneys general, including Az's Mark Brnovich, want to maintain a Trump-era policy pertaining to funding for family planning clinics

Ohio’s attorney general filed suit Monday seeking to halt implementation of a Biden administration policy allowing family planning to clinics that make abortion referrals to again receive federal funds.

Dave Yost, along with 11 other state attorneys general, filed for an injunction to block a rule change to the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970. Specifically, the suit seeks to restore a Trump administration policy enacted in 2019 requiring Title X clinics to be physically and financially independent of abortion clinics, and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, which administers Title X funding, implemented the new rule earlier this month.

Yost, a Republican, said the 2019 policy is more in line with the law’s intent to provide low-income Americans' access to contraception and preventative health services while also prohibiting funds going towards the use of abortion as a means of family planning.

“You can’t 'follow the money' when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together,” Yost said in a press release. “Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion — and that law means means nothing if the federal money isn’t kept separate.”

“That, frankly, is the real reason behind the rule,” he added.

Joining Yost in the suit are the attorneys generals of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The suit comes a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on a controversial Texas law restricting abortions in the Lone Star State. Senate Bill 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act, not only outlaws abortions after an ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat, but also allows private citizens to sue anyone who aids a woman in obtaining an abortion.

The law makes no exception for rape or incest.

The cases before the court — Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson and U.S. v. Texas - challenge the law on the limited question if it is subject review in federal court.

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