Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Joins Fight to Protect Women’s Access to Family Planning

May 18, 2018

CONTACT: Natalie Silver, Community Outreach and Policy Coordinator, (802) 595 8679

More than 9,000 Vermonters rely on Title X funding, which is currently being threatened by the Trump-Pence Administration

Vermont has joined 19 states in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in support of a nationwide preliminary injunction that would block a recent attempt by the Trump-Pence Administration to reduce access to Title X, the nation’s family planning program. Title X provides family planning services, including birth control and other critical preventive care, to uninsured and under insured patients. The new set of requirements put forward by the Trump-Pence Administration would jeopardize the lives and the health of millions of low-income women and families across the United States, and thousands of Vermonters, by threatening funding for birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and infertility treatment.

“Denying women preventative health care and effective family planning is not sensible public policy. Ensuring women’s control over their own reproductive health empowers them and strengthens Vermont families for the long term,” Attorney General TJ Donovan said.

On February 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new set of requirements that would strip away funding for women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood, and instead provide funding for natural family planning methods and abstinence-only education. The new requirements threaten funding for comprehensive reproductive healthcare centers and instead favor facilities that do not provide women with fact-based information or comprehensive healthcare. These new requirements directly threaten the state of Vermont, which serves about 9,000 patients at 10 Title X clinics around the state. Additionally, the elimination of these healthcare providers in Vermont would largely impact those living below the poverty line. Of the 9,000 patients served in Vermont, roughly 47% have incomes at or below the federal poverty level.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, along with the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, are challenging the Administration. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 2, 2018, these organizations argue that new funding requirements for Title X are in conflict with the underlying Title X statute and regulations. The plaintiffs also claim that the Administration has no clear basis for the policy change, and the resulting requirements are arbitrary and capricious. Lastly, they argue that the new criteria improperly change the nature of Title X funding. The current statute requires providers who receive Title X funding to provide patients with a range of family planning methods, yet the new requirements would emphasize only one set of family planning options (abstinence or natural family planning).

Joining Vermont in filing the motion are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Last modified: May 30, 2018