Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Court Vacates Obama-Era Rule Mandating Gender Transition and Abortion Procedures

In Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Azar, (ND TX, Oct. 15, 2019), a Texas federal district court vacated and remanded for further consideration a rule issued by the Obama administration under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy in health care programs that receive federal financial assistance. The court relied on reasoning in its earlier preliminary injunction decision (see prior posting) concluding that requiring health care providers to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions in violation of their religious beliefs violates RFRA.  The court held that vacatur is the proper remedy for an unlawful agency rule, and so refused to also issue a nationwide permanent injunction. In the case the court had allowed the ACLU and the River City Gender Alliance to intervene to defend the Obama administration rule. Becket Law issued a press release announcing the decision.