U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane of Oregon said Tuesday that he will grant a preliminary injunction against a new federal rule preventing taxpayer-funded family planning facilities from referring patients for abortions. Section 1008 of the Title X statute prohibits abortion as a method of family planning. McShane said he also plans to grant a preliminary injunction against another new Title X rule stating that facilities that commit abortions must house abortion services in separate buildings from their actual legitimate health care services. Of course, both of these injunctions would affect Planned Parenthood, which commingles its abortion business and its birth control dispensation under the same roof, with the same staff, often in the same visit. And therefore, federal family planning funds that go to Planned Parenthood are supporting the organization’s abortion business as well (fungibility).
Oregon, along with 19 other states and the District of Columbia, is suing against the Trump Administration’s new Title X rules. Planned Parenthood is suing as well. The new regulations state that along with forbidding taxpayer dollars to go towards abortions, family planning facilities who receive the federal funding may not refer patients for abortions either. The change is due to take effect on May 3.
McShane stopped short of saying he would issue a national injunction against the rule, saying he is reluctant to set “national health care” policy. It is unclear exactly what his final ruling will entail.
The attorney for the federal government, Andrew M. Bernie, said in court that there has been no proof of “irreparable harm” from the rules and there is no political motivation behind them. The new regulations, according to Oregon Live, fit within the 1991 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rust v. Sullivan, which prohibits federally funded family-planning facilities from counseling patients on abortion.
Judge McShane, in turn, said it would be “insane” for his doctor to send him to a fertility clinic if he requested a vasectomy, likening sterilization to an abortion. He seems not to understand the difference between a semi-permanent method of preventing the fertilization of a human being and killing an already-conceived preborn human being through abortion. Abortion is not birth control.
The judge also called it “arrogant” of the government to think they are better equipped to direct health care than abortion providers are. However, the slaughtering of innocent human beings is a human rights injustice, and it is the job of government to protect human lives. Abortion is not health care.
McShane claimed the rules would hurt low-income women — and Attorney Alan Schoenfeld, who represents the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the lawsuit, said that the new rules will cause a public health crisis because no other facilities for family planning exist. However, there are 12,000 non-abortion providing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) compared to approximately 600 Planned Parenthood facilities in the country. And there are 154 FHQCs in Oregon alone, compared to only 12 Planned Parenthood facilities.
Oregon Right to Life reacted to McShane’s planned injunction:
“Not a dollar would be cut from family planning under these rules,” continues [Lois Anderson, ORTL executive director]. “If Planned Parenthood refuses to comply, the money would go to the more than 13,500 federally-qualified healthcare clinics (FQHCs) around the nation. In Oregon alone, there are 24 FQHCs for every single Planned Parenthood clinic. The idea that there would be a dearth of providers should this rule take affect is an outright lie.”
McShane plans to release his written decision soon.
Editor’s Note, 4/24, 4:22p EST: Added in comment from OR RTL press release.
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