Federal Court Blocks Gag Rule Nationwide

Judge blocks the Trump Administration's Domestic Gag Rule and acknowledges the harmful impacts on women

(PRESS RELEASE) Today, a federal district court judge in Washington state issued a preliminary injunction blocking changes to the Title X federal family planning program from taking effect. The case was brought by Washington State and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and argued today before U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Bastian.  

Some provisions of the new rule, issued by the Trump Administration, had been scheduled to start taking effect May 3, but are now blocked until the case can be heard. The new Title X rule is also being challenged in Maine, California, Maryland, and Washington. 

Similarly, the Center for Reproductive Rights also is challenging the Gag Rule in a federal district court in Maine, on behalf of Maine Family Planning which is the sole Title X grantee in the state.  The Center and Maine Family Planning also have asked for an injunction from the district court in Maine.  A hearing was held on that motion yesterday, and the judge is expected to rule in coming days. But, now the people of Maine like others around the country, will be covered by the nationwide injunction out of Washington. 

“Today’s decision is an important first step in blocking this disastrous rule,” said Julie Rikelman, senior director of U.S. litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Now that the rule is on hold, it means that health care centers that receive Title X funding in Maine, Washington and every state can continue providing abortion services and speaking openly with their patients about the option of abortion. The government has no right to limit free speech between doctors and patients."

Earlier this week, a federal district court in Oregon also announced plans to enjoin the Domestic Gag Rule. 

For decades, existing regulations have prevented federal funds, including Title X, from being used for abortion services. The Domestic Gag Rule goes far beyond that, forcing clinics to stop performing abortions altogether or lose their funding for other reproductive health services, which would put many out of business. The rule would also prohibit doctors at these facilities from making referrals to abortion providers, even when the patient has already decided to have an abortion and directly asks for a referral. Instead, doctors would be forced to give all pregnant patients prenatal referrals, regardless of whether the patient neither wants nor needs that information. 

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MEDIA CONTACTS:  
Center for Reproductive Rights: egest@Rubenstein.com 

Maine Family Planning: Deirdre Fulton McDonough: dfultonmcdonough@mainefamilyplanning.org or 207-835-9442