A Federal Judge in Texas issued an order Saturday barring enforcement of an Obama Executive order extending anti-discrimination protection under Obamacare to transgenders and providing abortion services.
Texas, seven other states, and three Christian healthcare groups challenged the rule that – according to the judge – “defines sex bias to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy.”
It was an injunction just one day before the new year, when the policy was to take effect. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled it violated the “Administrative Procedure Act,” a federal law governing how rules are made. From Reuters:
The judge also ruled that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in court on their claim that the new policy infringes on the rights of private healthcare providers under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
As explained in O’Connor’s 46-page opinion, the plaintiffs argued that the new regulation would “require them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment.”
The same judge issued a similar court order in August blocking a separate Obama administration policy that would have required public schools, over the objections of 13 states, to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice.
Fox News: Texas judge halts federal transgender health protections
Washington Post: Federal judge issues injunction against Obama administration abortion, transgender regulations
CBS News: Texas judge halts federal transgender health protections
The Obama Administration has 20 days to appeal the decision.
O’Connor is the same judge who sided with GOP-controlled states earlier this year over transgender protections in public schools sought by the Obama administration. That lawsuit centered on a federal directive requiring schools to let transgender students use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
White House spokeswoman Katie Hill decried the ruling.
“Today’s decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans – regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination,” she said.
The state of Texas has led a string of legal cases brought by Republican-controlled states contesting various social policies advanced by President Barack Obama, most notably his 2014 executive action to protect millions of immigrants in the United States illegally and give them work permits.