Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas has placed a nationwide injunction on the Obama-era regulation that prohibited insurers and health care providers who receive federal money from denying treatment to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy.
O’Connor, who last year ruled the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) unconstitutional, said the rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“[T]he court holds that the rule, which expressly prohibits religious exemptions, substantially burdens private plaintiffs’ religious exercise in violation of RFRA,” O’Connor wrote.
The judge was acting in response to a lawsuit brought in 2016 by a group of Christian providers called the Franciscan Alliance, who were joined by five “red” states.
They argued that the rule forces insurers to pay for abortions and doctors to perform gender transition services even if they disagree with those procedures on moral or medical grounds.