A federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction on December 31 against efforts by the Obama administration intended to ban transgender discrimination by hospitals, the Texas Tribune reports.
U.S District Judge Reed O’Connor sided with Texas, along with the religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance and four other Republican-led states, in a lawsuit that claimed the new rules would place undue pressure on doctors to perform gender transition and abortion procedures.
While the new rules were seen as a major milestone for transgender protections by advocacy groups, O’Connor wrote they “likely violate” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The ruling went into effect on January 1.
The lawsuit claims the new rules prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in healthcare programs would force doctors to perform medical procedures contrary to their religious beliefs. However, supporters of the rules point out that a patient would never seek out a doctor without the necessary medical experience.
The ruling comes four months after the same judge halted the Obama administration’s directive that would allow transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.
The lawsuit was first announced in August by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which is representing the Franciscan Alliance.