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US judge in Oregon says he’ll block new Trump abortion policy


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A federal judge in Oregon says he will block a rule change by President Donald Trump’s administration that could cut off federal funding for providers who refer patients for an abortion, though the scope of his decision remains to be seen.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that U.S. District Judge Michael McShane made the comments late Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by 20 states and the District of Columbia.

Under the new policy, health care providers that receive federal funding would be barred from referring patients for an abortion. Programs that receive the money would also have to be in a separate physical space from facilities where abortion is performed.

The judge said he needs more time to decide whether he will issue a national injunction or a more limited one blocking the policy from taking effect as scheduled May 3.

News release from Gov. Kate Brown’s office:

Ruling Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Services

(Salem, OR) — Today, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane indicated he would issue a ruling to enjoin a Trump Administration rule that would significantly restrict access to reproductive health services and information for women and families.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit last month challenging the constitutionality of the new Title X “gag rule,” which bars providers in any clinic that receives Title X funding from referring a patient for an abortion. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon and joined by 21 states’ Attorneys General, the American Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Medical Association. “This ruling will ensure that women and families can continue to access the family planning, reproductive, and preventive health care services they need,” said Governor Brown. “I will continue to fight back against the Trump administration’s efforts to rob Oregonians of their right to access objective information and make their own decisions about critical health issues.”

In 2017, Oregon’s Title X clinics served 37,012 patients, and last fiscal year Oregon received over $3 million in Title X funds. Oregon has received funding for Title X services in Oregon since 1970, and Title X clinics are located in almost every county in Oregon. The program is administered by the Oregon Health Authority’s Reproductive Health Program. Two-thirds of the patients served at Oregon’s Title X clinics are at, or below, 100 percent of the federal poverty level and 95 percent were below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

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