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Oklahoma AG files injunction against Biden Administration to prevent additional loss of family planning funds

A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago.
Teresa Crawford
/
AP
A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed an injunction against the Biden Administration Friday to prevent the state from losing an additional year of Title X funding for family planning services.

Clinics participating in Title X programs offer confidential and low-cost family planning resources for all ages, including contraceptives, counseling and pregnancy testing. Title X programs require information and counseling on all options, which includes abortion if a pregnant patient requests it.

The State Department of Health has received Title X funding since 1971, and it was revoked last year after it refused to give patients that information.

In his November lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Drummond argued that federal law says money should not be used in Title X programs where abortion is a form of family planning.

“Title X in no way requires abortion referrals for a State’s continued participation,” the lawsuit reads. “Rather, sans authority, HHS seeks to punish Oklahoma for the policies adopted by Oklahoma’s elected representatives to protect unborn life. HHS is interfering with rights reserved to the people and their elected representatives despite a clear federal mandate.”

Two months after his initial lawsuit, Drummond is filing this injunction which, if successful, would mean the federal government could not withhold another year of Title X money, set to be distributed on April 1. Drummond argues the state will suffer irreparable harm without it, as services will be in jeopardy.

“I will not stand by while the overzealous Biden Administration attempts to harm Oklahomans in desperate need of healthcare services,” Drummond said in a news release. “Oklahoma should not be punished for having pro-life policies that clash with President Biden’s liberal agenda.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt said in the release he supports Drummond’s motion for an injunction.

“President Biden is playing political games with the health care needs of countless Oklahomans all because of our pro-family values. It’s wrong," he said in the release. "The State of Oklahoma won’t stand idly by while the Biden Administration holds millions of federal dollars hostage, and I applaud General Drummond for taking swift action to combat this outrageous abuse of power.”

Currently, Oklahoma is dipping into $4.5 million in state funds to continue family planning services through county health departments. Drummond said in the release he is also committed to restoring those funds.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Jillian Taylor reports on health and related topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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