Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City of Chicago has joined a coalition of 19 local governments led by Columbus, Ohio in filing an amicus brief last night in support of Planned Parenthood’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a challenge to changes made by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Title X funding requirements. These proposed changes threaten neighborhood health centers that provide essential services.
“The approximately 30 Chicago clinics and hospitals that receive Title X funding provide vital and basic health care services to tens of thousands of Chicagoans each year," said Mayor Emanuel. "The Trump Administration is again trying to implement a harmful and misguided policy that has threatens the health and well-being of our residents, so I am proud to support Planned Parenthood and join the legal fight against President Trump's continued efforts to undermine access to quality health care."
Earlier this year, President Trump's Administration proposed fundamental changes to the criteria for awarding Title X funding, which has long been used to expand access to contraception and reproductive health care for low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals. The requirements that must be met for organizations to access Title X funding are long-standing, non-partisan funding criteria, and had not been changed since 1970.
The new criteria potentially alter both the recipients of Title X funding - like the seven Planned Parenthood locations in Chicago - and the manner in which applicants must provide health services in order to receive this funding. This new criteria considerably reorients the agency's funding priorities to favor new considerations like encouraging abstinence across the board - not just among young people - and expressing a preference for family planning services provided in the same location as the receipt of primary health care.
Women and men across the country rely on Title X for basic health care, including a broad range of family planning and contraception services, cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment for STIs and testing and links to care for HIV/AIDs; infertility services; screening for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes; and referrals for other health services.
In the amicus brief, the municipalities expressed the irreparable harm that cities will face as a result of these changes. Further, the brief argues that HHS failed to undertake appropriate notice-and-comment rulemaking before adding additional criteria.
Chicago joins 17 U.S. cities and one county who have signed the amicus brief: Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Dayton, OH; Seattle, WA; Austin, TX; St. Paul, MN; Duluth, MN; Albany, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Minneapolis, MN; Baltimore, MD; Tucson, AZ; Providence, RI; San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Akron, OH; and Dane County, WI.