More than a dozen states are suing the Trump administration over a decision to expand the drug use ban to cover people who are HIV-positive and who use some combination of a skin-whitening drug and the HIV drug Truvada.
Lawyers for the states and their attorneys general contend the ban violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the U.S. Constitution’s due process guarantee.
They also contend the administration failed to provide adequate notice to the states of the new restrictions and is violating the Clean Air Act.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the first to allege the Trump Administration’s expanded use of the drug ban violates both the Constitution and the Clean Water Act.
The suit seeks to invalidate the Trump Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) new policy that the use of Truvaderas in the United States for purposes of HIV treatment and prevention is “a violation of the constitutional prohibition on Cruel and Unusual Punishment and the [Clean Water Act].”
The states’ suit, filed in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, alleges that the Trump HHS policies and the new ban violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the U; Tenth, and Fourteen Amendments.
The states argue the drug policies are based on “an ill-informed, poorly-designed and poorly-administered program of unlawful and discriminatory drug treatment and denial.”
The states say the drug bans violate the Fourth Amendment’s equal protection clause, which requires that government action be “reasonable and necessary to further the legitimate interests of the Government.”
The lawsuit, which seeks to delay implementation of the expanded drug ban until the courts rule on the states’ case, says the Trump administrations’ use of “remedial measures” to enforce the drug restrictions “will likely result in significant delays in the provision of effective HIV and other health care services, including HIV prevention and treatment services and other HIV and AIDS prevention and care services.”
“If enacted, the Trump’s drug policies would result in thousands of lives being lost, and thousands of people living with HIV or AIDS,” the states said in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
“The Trump Administration has repeatedly claimed that its new drug policies will reduce the incidence of HIV and STDs, and that it will save lives,” the lawsuit states.
“These claims are false and misleading.
The Trump Administration is in violation of its own policies and its duty to protect the lives and safety of people with HIV and their families.
This is not the first time this Administration has sought to use the drug-free policies to enforce a cruel and unconstitutional policy that is contrary to the law.
The Administration is also in violation to the Constitution, the laws of the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United Nation’s Charter, and will be held accountable for these violations.”
A federal judge in New York in February ordered that Trump’s use of a ban that targeted HIV-negative people who used Truvadanas was invalid.
Trump and other administration officials, however, have defended the drug policy, claiming it has saved lives.
“The United States continues to be the only country in the world that has no new HIV and no new STDs,” Trump said in January, adding that the U has the “highest rate of HIV transmission in the entire world.”