A federal judge in Portland has signaled his intent to block a new Trump administration rule that could significantly restrict low-income Americans from receiving reproductive health care. The federal rule, coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is slated to go into effect on May 3.
Judge Michael McShane did not issue a formal ruling at the end of Tuesday’s four-hour hearing on a national injunction against the rule, brought by the Oregon Department of Justice and 20 other states. However, McShane expressed his clear opposition to the feds’ “ham-fisted approach to public health policy” and said he will grant the plaintiffs’ injunction within the next few days.
The slated HHS rule would impact any medical clinic that receives federal funding from Title X—funds that specifically support programs working to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies among low-income Americans. Per federal law, the funds cannot be used to cover abortion procedure.
Under the new rule, no clinics that receive Title X dollars would be allowed to educate patients about abortion or refer people seeking an abortion to an abortion provider. Doctors would be allowed to refer women seeking abortions to a prenatal care doctor or an adoption program—alternatives that suggest they don’t support their patient’s decision to end her pregnancy.