A federal judge permanently blocked an Obama administration rule Tuesday that could have forced medical facilities and doctors to abort unborn babies.
The rule from President Barack Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defined “discrimination on the basis of sex” to include abortion in Obamacare. In doing so, it could have forced medical facilities, doctors, nurses and other medical workers to abort unborn babies against their beliefs.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor permanently blocked the pro-abortion rule as a violation of religious freedom, the Washington Times reports. Previously, he temporarily blocked the rule, so it was not being enforced.
A group of states, including Texas, and the Christian health care provider Franciscan Alliance challenged the rule in court.
“HHS lacked the legal authority to re-write a number of federal laws that prevent sex discrimination and protect religious freedom, especially when it sought to do so by forcing doctors to perform — and American taxpayers to pay for — controversial medical procedures that are contrary to the religious and moral beliefs of millions across our nation,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement after the ruling.
Here’s more from the report:
“The Court granted HHS two years to complete its review and amend the Rule at issue,” Judge O’Connor said Tuesday in a 25-page opinion. “Despite HHS’s better efforts, the rule remains on the books.”
The Trump administration had asked the court for more time to rework the rule, but Judge O’Connor on Tuesday said time was up.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said President Donald Trump did propose a new rule earlier this year to clarify that sex discrimination in Obamacare does not include abortion. She praised the Trump administration for protecting the rights of pro-life advocates and unborn babies.
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“This ruling is an important victory for the Trump administration and all pro-life Americans. Abortion is not health care and should never be mandated by the government,” Dannenfelser said. “President Trump and Secretary Azar have worked hard to put a stop to this manipulation of the law and to protect pro-life institutions and health care workers from being forced to participate in the destruction of innocent life.”
Back in 2017, the Trump administration issued another rule to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers from having to pay for drugs that may cause abortions in their employee health care plans under Obamacare. However, pro-abortion attorneys general in Pennsylvania, California and several other states filed lawsuits to overturn the religious protections. That court battle is on-going.