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Judge Blocks Obama Administration Rules on Health Care

  • VOA News

FILE - Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, June 27, 2016, after the court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics.

A federal judge in Texas on Saturday ordered a nationwide halt to enforcement of new Obama administration rules protecting those who apply for transgender or abortion-related health care services.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor issued the temporary injunction the day before the new anti-discrimination provisions were due to go into effect. His ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by Texas and a handful of other states.

Those who oppose the new federal regulations say they could violate the religious freedom of physicians and other health care workers and thwart their "independent medical judgment" in cases involving transgender patients or women seeking abortions.

There was no immediate comment from the White House or other federal officials in Washington. The government could appeal the injunction or ask the judge to limit his ruling to the plaintiffs in the case. But since President Barack Obama is due to leave office on January 20, the fate of the lawsuit remains unclear.

O'Connor is the same judge who overruled the Obama administration in a similar case four months ago. He enjoined the federal government from restricting federal aid to schools that do not comply with rules prohibiting discrimination against transgender students. That case is currently under appeal.