A federal judge in Oregon said Tuesday that he intends to grant a preliminary injunction against rule changes by the Trump administration that could cut federal funding from clinics that refer patients to abortion providers.
U.S. District Judge Michael McShane made the comments after more than three hours of arguments in a lawsuit brought by 20 states and the District of Columbia, The Oregonian reported. The states said the rule change, which takes effect May 3, is an attack on Planned Parenthood and a violation of the Affordable Care Act.
Under the Trump administration’s 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.
Andrew M. Bernie, a U.S. Justice Department lawyer, said there was nothing in the administrative record to suggest the change was politically motivated. But the judge was not swayed. McShane suggested it would be “insane” for a man to go to his doctor seeking a vasectomy, only to be referred to a fertility clinic.
Several other lawsuits have also challenged the new policy. California and Washington have sued separately; arguments in the latter case are scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Yakima.
McShane 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. The judge said he’s reluctant to set national health care policy and would issue a written opinion soon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.