Colorado and several other Democratic-led states plan to challenge the Trump administration's effort to set up obstacles for women seeking abortions, including barring taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Monday that the state filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco that aims to block a new family planning rule from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The changes to the federal "Title X" family planning program would shift millions of dollars from Planned Parenthood to faith-based organizations.
Colorado and 19 other states, along with Washington, D.C., said they would sue separately in Oregon on Tuesday.
The other states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Oregon is lead plaintiff in the case.
Washington's Democratic attorney general also previously said the state would challenge the rule.
Trump administration officials have told abortion opponents that they expected a number of legal challenges to the new family planning rule, which also prohibits federally funded family planning clinics from being housed in the same place as abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood and other groups representing the clinics say the physical separation of facilities would be costly and all but impossible to fulfill. Supporters of the rule expect funding for faith-based family planning organizations to increase.
The Health and Human Services Department declined to comment, citing the litigation.
The changes to the Title X program are scheduled to go into effect in May unless blocked in court.
“Title X is a critical source of health care funding in Colorado," Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement. "In 2017, Colorado received $3.8 million in federal funding, which provided a range of services — including general health screenings and a broad range of family planning methods — to more than 55,000 Coloradans throughout the state."
"These restrictions threaten to undermine health care providers’ ability to serve their patients professionally," Weiser added. "If these rules go into effect, Colorado will see an increase in teen births, unintended pregnancies, and abortions.”
The lawsuits are the latest of dozens of legal challenges that states led by Democrats have filed in a bid to block Trump administration policies.