CNA Staff, Aug 18, 2020 / 10:21 am
A federal judge has halted the Trump administration’s rule protecting doctors’ right to object to abortion and transgender surgery, just one day before it was to have taken effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block issued a preliminary injunction Monday stopping the rule from being enforced until it receives a full court decision.
In issuing the injunction, Block pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision in June which ruled that employers cannot fire workers because of their sexual orientation or self-determined gender identity.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion for that decision that biological sex is one component of sexual orientation and gender identity, and these categories should therefore be included in sex-based discrimination rules.
Block said the health care rule must be considered in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on employment.
The health care rule originated with Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which forbids federally funded healthcare programs from discrimination on the basis of sex.
In May 2016, the Obama administration redefined “sex discrimination” to include abortion and gender identity. This meant doctors who refuse to recognize sex-change operations as appropriate medical care could face prosecution for sex discrimination. That regulation never went into effect, as a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against it in late 2016.
In June 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule removing the expansive definition of “sex” from section 1557 and requiring that non-discrimination protections be interpreted in line with First Amendment freedoms.