Attorney General Rutledge Warns Department of Health and Human Services that It Cannot Federally Fund Abortion

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a group of attorneys general demanding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decline to adopt a proposed regulation that would illegally fund abortion. Title X — a federal law that funds family-planning services — expressly prohibits its funds from being used to support elective abortions. In April, HHS proposed to overturn a Trump Administration policy robustly enforcing this legal requirement. The existing policy, issued in 2019, requires federally funded Title X family planning clinics to be physically and financially independent from abortion clinics. The letter comes as HHS is weighing the new proposal would allow the commingling of funds and undercut the purpose of the Title X law.

“I will always fight for the unborn and against taxpayer funds flowing to abortion clinics,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansas’s chief legal officer, I have a record of successfully fighting efforts to force taxpayers to pay for abortions, including successfully defending Arkansas’s decision to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid.  And I will not stop fighting now.”

Earlier this year, 18 states joined a motion led by Ohio filed in the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the 2019 rules and protect funding limitations that Congress imposed when it enacted Title X. The Supreme Court dismissed that lawsuit, in anticipation of HHS considering comments on its proposed rule.  In 2017, on an appeal brought by Rutledge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a lower court order that had blocked Arkansas’s decision to terminate Planned Parenthood’s participation in the State’s Medicaid program; that termination was in response to videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal remains for profit.

Joining Arkansas and Ohio in signing the letter to HHS are attorneys general from: Alabama, Alaska,  Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

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