Federal judge says he will block Trump ban on abortion referrals

Donald Trump. File photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

April 24 (UPI) — An Oregon federal judge said Tuesday he would support an injunction against a ban on abortion referrals at federally funded family planning clinics.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane called the Trump administration’s “gag rule” barring federal clinics from offering clients referrals to abortion providers a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy,” The Oregonian reported.

The gag rule was part of an overhaul of the Title X federal family planning program introduced in February to cut funding to any organization that provides abortions and was to go into effect May 3.

The injunction lawsuit was filed by 20 states including Oregon, the District of Columbia, Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association filed in March, which was followed by a similar lawsuit filed by California.

The coalition lawsuit had been seeking a national injunction, but McShane said he’s apprehensive to rule over the country’s healthcare and that he would further describe the breadth of the injunction in an opinion shortly.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Leana Wen said the decision was “a victory for patients and doctors in this country.”

In the statement published on Twitter, Wen said, “Because of this, our patients across the country can still access the life-saving healthcare they need through Title X — our nation’s only program for affordable birth control and reproductive healthcare.”

Wen cut short of full celebratory comments, however, stating that “this relief is preliminary” and that they will continue to fight the Trump administration in court.

American Medical Association President Barbara McAneny in a┬ástatement said, “Judge McShane got it exactly right when he called the new Title X rule a ‘ham-fisted’ approach to health care,” adding that when he asked the government how the new rule would improve health outcomes “the government was unable to answer.”

“The new rule would have placed obstacles to health care for low-income patients,” McAneny said. “We are pleased the judge shared the AMA’s concern about the physician-patient relationship that the rule would have jeopardized.”

McShane said the changes to Title X would have cut off a segment of low-income women from all healthcare options while increasing the number of abortions by increasing the number of unwanted pregnancies.

His injunction will also stand against the prohibition of federally funded clinics being in the same building as abortion providers.

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