Ohio and 11 other states sue Biden administration to stop federal funds going toward abortions

The suit, led by Ohio AG Dave Yost, is seeking to reinstate a Trump-era rule that keeps Title X funding separate from abortion providers and referrers
An ultrasound machine at a women's clinic for examining pregnant women
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Ohio officials have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over allowing taxpayer dollars to be used by health clinics to support abortions.

The suit, filed Monday and joined by 11 other states, is being led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Yost is seeking to restore the Trump-era rule that bars medical clinics from obtaining Title X federal funding to use for performing or referring abortions.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration revoked the Trump administration's rule that "prohibits the use of Title X funds to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning." In early November, clinics that receive federal grant funding will again be allowed to refer pregnant women for abortions.

"You can’t 'follow the money' when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together," said Yost, a Republican. "Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion – and that law means nothing if the federal money isn't kept separate,"

Ohio is joined by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. 

The suit will attempt to reinstate the Trump administration rule that ensures federally-funded clinics can only receive taxpayer dollars for family planning services that exclude abortion. 

In May, Yost and 20 other states advised the Department of Health and Human Services not to overturn to the Trump-era rule. 

Title X or the family planning grant program was established in 1970 by Congress as a way to provide assistance for specific sorts of pre-pregnancy family planning services for low-income individuals and households.

In 1988, the Reagan administration placed regulations on the rule to explicitly forbid federally funded clinics from receiving Title X funding to provide counseling or referrals for abortion as a form of family planning. 

At the end of President Bill Clinton's second term, his administration suspended the Reagan-era rules implementing a system in which clinics receiving Title X funding were not just permitted, but required, to refer patients to abortion providers.