Published: Tue, January 15, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Official decries blocking of birth control rules

Official decries blocking of birth control rules

Federal courts blocked Mr. Trump's initial attempts to get around the mandate earlier this year, saying they were hastily written, so the administration finalized new rules in November.

A U.S. judge in California on Sunday blocked Trump administration rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, DC.

There is still a chance that a nationwide injunction could be issued in a separate case by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his New Jersey counterpart, Gurbir Grewal.

The rules would let businesses or non-profits lodge religious or moral objections to obtain exemptions from the Affordable Care Act mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance with no co-payment.

A California judge has blocked new Trump administration regulations on birth control from applying in 13 states and Washington DC.

"The law couldn't be more clear - employers have no business interfering in women's healthcare decisions", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Sunday.

"The Trump administration's rules authorized employers and universities to strip women of birth control coverage - a benefit guaranteed to them by law, and meant to advance their health and equality".

"Today's court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care", Attorney General Becerra said.

Numerous citizens could lose contraceptive coverage, Beetlestone wrote, resulting in the increased use of state-funded contraceptive services, as well as increased costs associated with unintended pregnancies.

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But Mr Gilliam limited his ruling's impact to the specific states pursuing the lawsuit before him. Some private employers could also object on moral grounds.

The mandate requiring birth control coverage had been a key feature of so-called Obamacare - President Obama's efforts to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

Thirteen states - California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state, as well as Washington, D.C., sought the injunction to put the regulations on hold pending the states' lawsuit opposing them.

Under the Obama administration, a fairly limited number of employers - mainly churches and some other religious entities - could qualify for an exemption.

Mr Gilliam said the "moral convictions" exemption created by the Trump administration did not implicate the Constitution's protections for religious liberty and was "inconsistent with the language and goal of" Obamacare.

Leana Wen, a doctor and president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the organization is waiting for that ruling to see if women in the rest of the country will have the same access to birth control under the ACA.

Ms Beetlestone's latest decision came after US District Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California, issued a preliminary injunction on Sunday to prevent the rules from taking effect.

A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice, which has defended the rules in court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The states had not met the "high threshold" for a nationwide order required by a US appeals court, Gilliam said.

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