Federal judge in Oregon: New abortion rule ‘disregards’ women’s health

La. asks Supreme Court to allow state abortion law to go into effect
Photo Illustration/CNN

A federal judge in Oregon issued a written opinion Monday saying the Trump administration’s abortion clinic-referral restriction “recklessly disregards the health outcomes of women, families, and communities.”

US District Judge Michael J. McShane called the federal restriction “a ham-fisted approach to health policy” and said it “prevents doctors from behaving like informed professionals.”

A federal judge in Washington state last week blocked the Trump administration’s revised regulations to the Title X family planning program that prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from talking about abortion with patients or referring patients to abortion providers. They were to go into effect May 3.

The Title X program serves about 4 million people a year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and clinics that don’t abide by what opponents call a “gag rule” would be forced to forgo federal funding. Critics argue the regulations would most affect communities of color, low-income people, the uninsured and rural residents.

McShane said last week that he would issue a preliminary injunction against the federal restrictions, according to The Oregonian, and then later in the week the federal judge in Washington state did just that.

“At the heart of this rule is the arrogant assumption that government is better suited to direct the health care of women than their medical providers,” McShane writes.

“At a time in our history where government is assessing how we can improve and lower the costs of medical care to all Americans, the Final Rule would create a class of women who are barred from receiving care consistent with accepted and established professional medical standards,” he writes.

“It prevents counselors from providing comprehensive counseling,” McShane writes. “It prevents low-income women from making an informed and independent medical decision.”

More than 20 states have sued over the administration’s Title X changes, and a group of 19 medical organizations representing 4.3 million health care providers signed a letter protesting the revisions.