A United States District Court judge halted the enforcement of a Colorado law that stopped clinics from giving women a hormone meant to counteract the effects of an abortion pill.
The order for preliminary injunction was granted on a Saturday by Judge Daniel Domenico, an appointee of former President Trump.
The ruling was in favor of a pro-life clinic of Catholic orientation which had filed a lawsuit in April, arguing that Colorado’s law was infringing on their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religious exercise.
The law, dubbed ‘Prohibiting Deceptive Practices at Anti-Abortion Centers’, had set restrictions on clinics, preventing them from offering women progesterone after they had ingested the first chemical abortion pill and subsequently had second thoughts.
Judge Domenico stated unequivocally in his ruling that the law imposes a burden on Bella Health’s freedom to practice religion.
‘It indeed does,’ he wrote, highlighting Bella Health’s beliefs in fulfilling what they see as their religious duty: extending care and treatment to expectant mothers, and safeguarding unborn life if the mother wishes to stop the progression of or to reverse an abortion.
Violations of this law could lead to hefty fines for medical professionals, up to $20,000 for each breach, as per the allegation made in the lawsuit. Moreover, the law also risked the potential revocation of transgressors’ medical licenses.
Judge Domenico found that the law unambiguously discriminates against religious expression. As he noted, crisis pregnancy centers are generally seen as being operated mainly by Christian individuals or entities, as acknowledged by members of the legislature.
The law, in Judge Domenico’s perspective, establishes a biased boundary based on religion by exclusively targeting a specific group with religious motivations, while not applying those same standards to those who make use of progesterone ‘off-label’ for reasons other than attempting to reverse the effects of an abortion pill.
Bella Health and Wellness, responsible for instigating the lawsuit, was initiated by Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett, a Catholic mother and daughter team who are both nurse practitioners. This clinic provides services to a staggering total of more than 20,000 patients every month.
To Judge Domenico, the historical precedent set by legislative actions and the plain text of the bill itself make it unmistakably clear that the people who would shoulder the brunt of this law’s prohibitions are mostly those whose actions are motivated by religious beliefs.