A federal judge in Oregon said in a written opinion Monday that the administration’s latest abortion rule restricting some clinics’ ability to refer patients to abortion providers “recklessly disregards the health outcomes of women, families, and communities.”
U.S. District Judge Michael J McShane said the restriction was “a ham-fisted approach to health policy” which prevented doctors from doing their jobs.
The Trump administration’s revised regulations of the Title X family planning program, which introduced this restriction, were blocked by another federal judge last week. The regulations prohibit taxpayer-funded planning clinics from talking about abortion or referring patients to abortion providers, which critics argue would largely hit communities of color, low-income or uninsured people, as well as those living in rural areas.
“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 wrote. “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 added that the administration’s restrictions do not allow counselors to provide “comprehensive counseling” while at the same time stripping low-income women of the opportunity to make an informed decision.
The Title X program serves around 4 million people a year, the Department of Health and Human Services says, and over 20 states have already sued over the Trump administration’s changes to it. A group of 19 medical organizations representing 4.3 million health care providers signed a letter protesting the revisions, CNN informs.