Capitol Alert

California lawsuit to protect abortion services suggested

Xavier Becerra
Xavier Becerra AP

California's top cop hinted last week that the state will file another lawsuit against the federal government, potentially taking on the Trump administration over its plan to strip funding for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions.

At issue is funding for family planning and abortion services through the Title X program, expected to cost $260 million. President Donald Trump announced last week that the federal government would impose new rules barring health care clinics from receiving funds if they provide abortion services or referrals.

"The Trump-Pence administration is yet again attempting to interfere in a woman's health care decisions...this proposed rule is reckless and threatens women's access to critical health care," state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "At the California Department of Justice, we stand ready to take action to defend the rule of law and protect women from the Trump-Pence administration's dangerous attacks on their health care."

The federal Department of Health and Human Services said it would fund programs that "do not normalize sexual risk behaviors, but instead clearly communicate the research-informed benefits of delaying sex or returning to a sexually risk-free status."

The federal program helped prevent 822,300 unwanted pregnancies in 2015, according to the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

Should Becerra file, the lawsuit would be California's 32nd filing against the Trump administration, challenging decisions shaping health care, immigration and environmental policy.

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BAN ON CONVERSION THERAPY: California lawmakers are advancing a bill that would make it illegal for businesses to practice so-called "conversion therapy," or efforts to force a person to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A rally in support of the proposal, Assembly Bill 2943 from Assembyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, is planned on the west steps of the Capitol beginning at 9 a.m.

The bill passed the Assembly floor last month. It heads next to the state Senate.

ABORTION PILL RALLY: California university activists are set to rally today in support of a bill that would require health clinics at University of California and California State University campuses to provide nonsurgical abortion services to students.

Senate Bill 320 from Sen Connie Leyva, D-Chino, passed the Senate floor earlier this year. It's expected to move to the Assembly next month.

Students scheduled to speak at the rally are Adiba Khan, co-founder of Berkeley Students United for Reproductive Justice, and Marandah Rain Field-Elliot, a member of the group. Both have advocated for the bill. It begins at 1 p.m. at the Capitol.