A Federal Judge Just Blocked Trump’s Latest Attack on Abortion Rights

Goodbye “gag rule.”

President Donald Trump makes remarks during a meeting of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council on April 4, 2019.

President Donald Trump makes remarks during a meeting of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council on April 4, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

A federal judge in Washington has blocked President Trump’s attempt to bar health organizations that provide abortions—or even offer referrals for them—from receiving Title X federal family planning money. Judge Stanley Bastian issued a nationwide injunction on the rule, effective immediately.

The so-called gag rule, which was set to go into effect on May 3, would have stripped tens of millions of Title X federal family planning dollars from Planned Parenthood and other organizations. While the use of public funds to pay for abortions is already banned except in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest, the new rule would have effectively “gagged” Title X health care providers by barring them from telling patients how to obtain abortions, and preventing organizations from performing abortions at the same facilities where they provide Title X services like mammograms, assistance for sexual assault survivors, and testing for sexually transmitted infections. 

In March, Washington state and a handful of reproductive rights and advocacy groups sued the Trump administration over the rule change. They argued that the gag rule interferes with patients’ rights to pregnancy counseling, creates obstacles to health care for low-income patients, and oversteps the Trump administration’s authority. In the past two weeks, federal judges in California and Oregon have also heard arguments against the new rule. During a preliminary hearing in Oregon on April 24, Judge Michael J. McShane suggested that he would block the rule, calling the restrictions a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.” But he also indicated that he was reluctant to set “national health care’’ policy. In Washington, Judge Bastian had no such qualms.

Gov. Jay Inslee called the ruling “a major victory for millions of Americans.” Judge Bastian is expected to issue a written opinion early next week.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate