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Ex-Officio Mayor sues Trump Administration to protect drastic healthcare cuts for low income people

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Ex-Officio Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young

The City of Baltimore Wednesday, filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to prevent a federal regulation from taking effect in early May which would severely restrict access to reproductive health care for low-income people. Title X clinics in the City serve over 16,000 patients each year with vital family planning, cancer screening and other preventive health services. 

By imposing costly and unnecessary infrastructure requirements on Title X clinics, and by requiring clinic medical staffs to violate their professional ethics and direct pregnant patients away from abortion and toward prenatal care, many Title X grantees will be forced to forego the funding and close their doors. The City would lose its $1.4 million Title X funding for reproductive health services at the same time that other providers close and patients lose access to services. The City’s  financial injury will be compounded by increasing health care costs as a result of an increase in unintended pregnancies, cancers not detected in early stages, the otherwise avoidable spread of sexually transmitted infections (“STIs”), delayed prenatal care, and patient diversion as other Title X providers opt out of the program and shut down.

“I commend our Health and Law Departments for working together to protect our residents’ health and rights,” said ex officio Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young. “Safeguarding our citizens access to essential care is paramount. This is the Baltimore City government I am proud to lead.”

“We are grateful to ex officio Mayor Young for his steadfast support in this matter. The Baltimore City Health Department is charged with the mission of protecting health, eliminating disparities and ensuring the wellbeing of every Baltimorean through education, advocacy and direct service delivery,” said Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, Baltimore City Health Commissioner. “With the support of Title X funds, our team works daily towards this mission, through their care of some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable residents. Our service delivery team provides women with cancer screenings, reproductive health services and education. An end to Title X funding would have a devastating impact on the residents served. As a Health Department, we cannot stand idly by as funding is being pulled. We will continue to pursue justice in this case on behalf of the residents of Baltimore City.”

“When the health of our residents is endangered by unlawful and costly federal regulations, adopted in denigration of those residents’ statutory and constitutional rights, the Law Department will not hesitate to file suit to prevent such regulations from taking effect,” stated Solicitor Andre M. Davis.  “This Health and Human Services regulation for Title X clinics is contrary to its enabling statute which for decades has increased access to reproductive health services. It is also unlawful because it violates the Constitution and several other federal laws,” Davis said. “We look forward to our day in court.”

In its lawsuit filed last Friday, Baltimore alleges that the Rule violates several federal statutes—including provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Title X itself, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act—and is an unconstitutional infringement of the rights to free speech, sex equality, and to access abortion. The suit by Baltimore is the latest of several suits challenging the rules brought by Title X providers, including Planned Parenthood, and a number of states including Maryland.

The City Law Department has enjoyed the able assistance of its pro bono co-counsel Arnold & Porter’s Andrew Tutt and Drew Harker; Professor Priscilla Smith, Faren Tang and the students of the Yale Law School Reproductive Justice Clinic; as well as Stephanie Toti of the Lawyering Project.