Activist Judge Forces Taxpayer Funding of Abortion


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal judge has attempted to block President Donald Trump’s administration’s rule designed to restrict Title X family planning funds from funding abortion.

Judge Stanley Bastian in the Eastern District of Washington state, an Obama appointee, granted the preliminary injunction against the rule. In other words, this judge has ruled that the Trump administration cannot prohibit taxpayer funds from going to groups like Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions or makes referrals for abortion. Planned Parenthood receives as much as $60 million in Title X funds annually.

The decision came two days after a federal judge in Oregon, Judge Michael McShane, also an Obama appointee, said he would grant a preliminary injunction. The case landed in court after Oregon and 20 other states, as well as the American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood, filed lawsuits.

The Trump administration’s rule, first proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services last year, would ban organizations from providing abortions if they are performed in the same facilities as other services financed by federal funds. Healthcare facilities cannot get the grants unless they have a “physical and financial” separation of family planning services and abortion. They also are not allowed to have doctors who directly refer patients for abortions, and this rule would block funding for organizations that refer women to another provider for the procedure. Existing grantees have 60 days to come into compliance, and one year to comply with the requirement for physical separation.

“These opinions underscore why many people have lost confidence in the courts,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Over the last two years, one judge after another has ruled against virtually anything the Trump administration has done, only to be reversed at the Supreme Court. Judges should fairly apply the law, not impose their personal views on what the law should be,” said Staver.

Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.