Law & the Courts

Oregon Judge to Block Trump Rule Cutting Off Funding to Abortion Providers

Sign on a Planned Parenthood building in New York in 2015. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

A federal judge in Oregon said Tuesday that he will grant a temporary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to cut off funding to family planning clinics that offer abortion or refer women to abortion providers.

Oregon joined 20 other states in seeking a national injunction to block the Trump administration’s proposed rule changes to Title X family planning program.

U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane called the rule change a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy” and said that the so-called “gag rule” preventing doctors from referring to patients to abortion providers infringes on their ability to provide health care, the Oregonian reported.

McShane has not yet specified whether his injunction will apply nationally or just to the plaintiffs in the case, as the Department of Justice requested.

Ellen Rosenblum, attorney for the state of Oregon, argued Tuesday that the rule change, which is set to go into effect on May 3, would deprive low-income citizens of healthcare they rely on.

“Title X grant funds are a true safety net for low income individuals and those who would not be able to access care, due to a lack of insurance or other barriers, Rosenblum said. “Put simply, this is an attempt to politicize what has been a successful, nonpolitical public health program for 50 years.”

Andrew Bernie, the attorney representing the administration, argued there is no evidence to suggest that defunding abortion providers creates “irreparable harm” to the health of low-income citizens and denied that the policy change was politically-motivated.

Bernie also cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in Rust v. Sullivan, which upheld the government’s right to cut off funding to clinics that refer women to abortion providers. McShane was unswayed and repeatedly argued that the only relevant variable was the health outcomes of the clinics’ prospective patients.

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