by Grace Carr
A federal judge late Tuesday blocked enforcement of a Trump administration rule barring health care organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving Title X funding.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane granted a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Trump administration’s Feb. 22 rule prohibiting Title X funds from supporting programs and organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals, The Oregonian reported. McShane called the rule a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy,” according to the Oregonian.
The rule states that “none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” The move meant to force Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics to separate health services such as cancer screenings, pap smears and breast exams from their abortion services. Title X grant recipients were already banned from conducting abortions with these federal funds prior to the ruling.
The rule also “requir[es] the physical and financial separation of Title X projects and facilities from programs and facilities where abortion is a method of family planning,” according to the text. The rule mandates clinics report cases of rape, incest and human trafficking, as federal law already requires.
“Judge McShane got it exactly right when he called the new Title X rule a ‘ham-fisted’ approach to health care,” American Medical Association President Barbara McAneny said in a Wednesday statement applauding the ruling. “The judge repeatedly asked how the new gag rule would improve health outcomes. The government was unable to answer.”
Twenty states sued the Trump administration in early March, alleging that the administration’s rule violates the Affordable Care Act by creating “unreasonable barriers to the ability of individuals to obtain appropriate medical care,” according to The Washington Post.
Planned Parenthood receives between $50 million and $60 million every year in Title X funds, and has claimed stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women’s access to health care. The abortion organization provides services to just over 40 percent of Title X patients.
Planned Parenthood called the ruling “a victory for patients, including 1.5m Planned Parenthood patients who use Title X for care,” in a tweet late Tuesday. “While this is a win, the injunction is temporary, meaning that this is no time to let up,” the abortion organization tweeted Wednesday, vowing to keep up the fight against restrictions on abortion access.
– – –