The Trump administration has agreed to postpone implementing a rule allowing medical workers to decline performing abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds while the so-called "conscience" rule is challenged in a California court.
The rule was supposed to take effect on July 22 but the US Department of Health and Human Services and its opponents in a California lawsuit mutually agreed on Friday to delay a final ruling on the matter until November 22.
The agency called it the "most efficient way to adjudicate" the rule.
A federal judge in San Francisco permitted the change on Saturday.
A California lawsuit alleges that the department exceeded its authority with the rule, which President Donald Trump announced in May.
The measure known as Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority would require institutions that receive money from federal programs to certify that they comply with some 25 federal laws protecting conscience and religious rights.
Most laws pertain to medical procedures such as abortion, sterilisation and assisted suicide.
Australian Associated Press