A federal judge in Washington has blocked a Trump administration rule aimed at crippling health providers of family planning services who also provide or even talk about abortion.

The Washington Post reports on the case which produced a nationwide injunction that bars a March rule prohibiting giving federal family planning money to agencies that advise or assist a woman with abortion. Federal money can’t be spent on abortions. But this rule required a clear separation, physical and financial, in agencies that provided family planning as well as abortion or counseling about it. It’s particularly damaging to Planned Parenthood. In Arkansas, the Hutchinson administration has already stripped Planned Parenthood of family planning money.


Judge Stanley Bastian found law violations in the new federal rule.

“It reverses long-standing positions of the Department without proper consideration of sound medical opinions and the economic and non-economic consequences,” he wrote.

The challengers, he said, have demonstrated that the rule “likely violates the central purpose of Title X, which is to equalize access to comprehensive, evidence-based, and voluntary family planning.”

In a particularly scathing passage, Bastian wrote that the rule likely “creates unreasonable barriers for patients to obtain appropriate medical care; impedes timely access to health care services; interferes with communications regarding a full range of treatment options between the patient and their health care provider, restricts the ability of health care providers to provide full disclosure of all relevant information to patients” and “violates the priniciples of informed consent and the ethical standards of health care professions.”

Unreasonable barriers to medical care? Sounds like the Arkansas legislature’s crusade to make women’s reproductive medical care unobtainable.


The courts, at least those not filled by Trump appointments, provide a last line of defense.