(CN) – A federal judge in Washington state issued a nationwide block Thursday of the Trump administration’s Title X gag on abortion referrals.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian granted the state’s request to stop the rule, which was to take effect May 3, pending litigation. The rule would have cut off federal funding for health care providers like those at Planned Parenthood, where doctors refer patients for abortions, and required clinics receiving federal funding to set up separate locations for doctors to discuss the procedure with their patients.
Bastian issued the ruling from the bench in Yakima, saying, “There is no public interest in perpetuating unlawful agency action.”
The bench ruling comes two days after a judge in Oregon said he would block the rule from taking effect. In the Oregon case on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane had called the rule “a ham-fisted approach to public health policy, one that emphasizes a political issue over Title X’s stated goal of goal of reducing unintended pregnancies.”
However, McShane didn’t say whether he would make the block nationwide or only apply to the 20 states that joined Oregon in that lawsuit.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson applauded Bastian’s ruling.
“Today’s ruling ensures that clinics across the nation can remain open and continue to provide quality, unbiased healthcare to women,” Ferguson said. “Trump’s ‘gag rule’ would have jeopardized healthcare access to women across the country. Title X clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, provide essential services – now they can keep serving women while we continue to fight to keep the federal government out of the exam room.”