(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday said the Trump administration may enforce a controversial new rule that bars clinics that receive federal funds for family planning services from referring patients to abortion providers.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put on hold three preliminary injunctions that had blocked enforcement of the rule, which was scheduled to take effect on May 3, during the appeals process.
In an unsigned order, a three-judge appeals court panel said the rule was a reasonable interpretation of applicable law, and the administration was likely to prevail on its argument the rule should be upheld.
Planned Parenthood, which supports the right of women to obtain abortions, said in a statement it will seek emergency relief from Thursday's order, and enforcing the rule will deprive many patients of essential healthcare.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese)
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