Federal judge halts transgender health protections

Federal judge halts transgender health protections
© Getty

A federal judge in Texas on Saturday halted enforcement of federal rules aimed at preventing doctors from discriminating against transgender individuals.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor granted the temporary injunction, saying the rules "likely violate" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to The Associated Press.

Several states are also part of the lawsuit over the rules finalized in May, including Kentucky, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas, along with several religiously affiliated medical groups.

O’Connor said the plaintiffs had standing to present the case because they had "presented concrete evidence to support their fears that they will be subject to enforcement under the Rule,” BuzzFeed reported.

The judge noted that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation "forbids discriminating on the basis of 'gender identity' and 'termination of pregnancy'" under ObamaCare.

“Plaintiffs claim the Rule’s interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment and will require burdensome changes to their health insurance plans on January 1, 2017," he wrote, according to BuzzFeed.

The state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government in August, arguing the regulations would force doctors to conduct gender transition procedures on children, according to The Texas Tribune.

O’Connor is the same federal judge who in August blocked the Obama administration from implementing new rules aimed at protecting transgender students, allowing them to use locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice.

Updated: 6:29 p.m.