Federal judge says he'll block abortion clinic referral restriction rule

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A federal judge in Oregon announced Tuesday he will issue a preliminary injunction against federal restrictions that prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning...

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 11:16 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 12:15 PM

A federal judge in Oregon announced Tuesday he will issue a preliminary injunction against federal restrictions that prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers, according to The Oregonian.

US District Judge Michael J. McShane called the federal restriction a 'ham-fisted approach to public health policy,' but has yet to issue a formal written opinion in the case, according to the outlet, which also said McShane was 'reluctant to set 'national health care' policy and would describe the scope of his injunction in a formal written opinion soon.'

The case was brought by 20 states -- including Oregon -- as well as Planned Parenthood affiliates and the American Medical Association, according to The Oregonian. Plantiffs seeking a national injunction against the rule, which goes into effect May 3.

McShane, the outlet reported, said the rule 'prevents doctors from behaving like medical professionals' and found that it would lead to a series of significant results, including 'an increase in abortions due to more unwanted pregnancies.' He also said it 'represents an 'arrogant assumption' that government is better suited to direct health care instead of providers.'

Oregon's Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum argued that the funds provided from the federal government's Title X program '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' and that the rule was an 'attempt to politicize' the program, the paper reported.

Additionally, attorney Alan Schoenfeld, who is representing the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Medical Association, said all Planned Parenthood providers, which operates about 40% of the program's clinics nationwide, will have to leave the program as a result of the rule because it would force them to 'practice unethically,' the outlet said.

Meanwhile, Andrew M. Bernie, the federal government's lawyer, maintained that the plaintiffs did not show 'irreparable harm' from the rule and that there is no proof that the government was trying to politicize the program, according to the outlet.

The Oregonian said McShane will also 'grant a preliminary injunction' aimed at blocking a federal rule that bars federally funded family planning clinics from operating out of the same buildings as abortion clinics.

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