A federal judge in Washington state has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from implementing a ban on abortion referrals at federally funded family planning clinics.
Judge Stanley Bastian, an Obama appointee, granted a nationwide preliminary injunction Thursday after hearing arguments in a suit challenging the changes.
The changes to the Title X family planning program, scheduled to go in effect May 3, would have banned providers receiving the grants from referring women for abortions. The rule issued by the administration also would have lifted a requirement that clinics counsel women on abortion as an option.
Other parts of the rule that take effect later would have required that grant recipients be financially and physically separate from abortion providers, making hundreds of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country ineligible for funding.
Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen praised the ruling in a statement Thursday evening, saying it “will allow four million people to continue receiving life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV testing, STI treatment, and affordable birth control.”
“At a time of rising maternal mortality and escalating STI infections, politicians need to stop attacking women’s health care and instead work with doctors and public health leaders to increase access to health care,” Wen said.
The preliminary injunction means the Trump administration can't enforce the rules while lawsuits challenging them are moving through the courts.
“We applaud Judge Bastian for prioritizing the health of poor and low-income women and men in his ruling to block the Trump administration’s dangerous Title X family planning rule," said Clare Coleman, president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), which sued over the rule.
"Since day one, NFPRHA’s priority has been to block this unlawful policy that could cut off access to contraception and sexual health care for millions. Today’s decision sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with making harmful changes to the nation’s family planning program, at the expense of people’s health care," she said.
A judge in Oregon earlier this week said he would grant an injunction in a similar lawsuit targeting the rules, but he has not yet announced the scope.
Updated at 6:37 p.m.