A judge has temporarily halted a rule that would have forced doctors in America to perform ‘sex reassignment’ operations and carry out abortions.
Numerous states, alongside three medical groups, challenged the Obama Administration ahead of the policy’s proposed introduction on 1 January.
They were concerned that doctors who had conscientious or professional objections to abortion or transsexualism would be forced to carry out related procedures.
Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with the concerns and issued a preliminary injunction, which halted the rule coming into force.
The ruling was described as “common sense” by a senior lawyer at religious liberty group Becket Law.
Lori Windham said the decision means “doctors’ best medical judgment will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference”.
Writing on the Gospel Coalition website, one of its editors Joe Carter said it was a “significant (albeit temporary) victory for religious liberty, rights of conscience, and the protection of children”.
“Had the rule gone into effect, Christian doctors could have lost their jobs or been sued for discrimination for refusing to perform gender transition procedures on children”, he added.
The White House described the ruling as “a setback, but hopefully a temporary one”.
In August Judge O’Connor blocked a separate rule on shared school showers and toilets from coming into force.
Previously the US Government had told schools to let transsexual pupils use the toilets, changing rooms and showers of their choice, or face serious funding cuts.
But the judge said the Government should have included a period of notice and public comment before issuing the order.