A federal judge in Washington state issued a preliminary nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration’s new Title X family planning policy barring funding recipients from promoting or referring women for abortion days before it was to go into effect.
The order comes from United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, who on Thursday reasoned that arguments presented by the plaintiffs “are likely to succeed on the merits.”
The state of Washington, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and Cedar River Clinics sued to block the new Department of Health and Human Services rule issued in March and scheduled to go into effect on May 3.
Abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and NFPRHA argued that the regulation is essentially a “gag rule” that would prevent women from receiving family planning aid. They fear that the rule will essentially block abortion clinics from receiving Title X funding.
The Title X program gives out about $286 million annually to programs that provide things like birth control, mammograms (which Planned Parenthood does not offer), and cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million per year.
The judge said the plaintiffs presented the argument that the new policy violates Title X regulations and section 1554 of the Affordable Care Act.
“In so finding, the court has not concluded that Plaintiffs will definitely prevail on the merits, nor has it concluded that they are more likely going to prevail,” the judge wrote. “The preliminary injunction standard requires neither of these conclusions.”
Four lawsuits have been filed in various states against the policy. Bastian is just now the second judge to rule against Trump’s gag-rule.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane in Oregon granted a preliminary injunction against the HHS rule and called it a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.” That case was filed by Oregon and about 20 others states.
However, McShane has not yet written an opinion but suggested that he was reluctant to set a “national health policy,” suggesting his ruling might not be national in scope.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith