President-elect Donald Trump can undo many of President Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen, but rolling back a key new mandate forcing religious doctors and hospitals to perform abortions and transgender surgeries looks to be a much more protracted legal battle.
Many judges have begun to adopt the administration’s expansive interpretation of Title IX and other federal directives barring discrimination on the basis of “sex,” lawyers say, limiting the ability of the president-elect to revoke his predecessor’s policies without help from Congress or the courts.
Now the Department of Health and Human Services has taken Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits “sex” discrimination in the provision of health care, to mean that hospitals, insurance companies and other health care entities that receive federal funding must cover or perform abortions and sex-reassignment surgeries, even if doing so would violate their religious beliefs.
The rule was finalized in May and was to go into effect on Sunday.
But the legal battle escalated over the weekend when a federal judge in Texas on Saturday blocked the Obama administration mandate one day before it was set to go into effect.