Judge Blocks Trump Plan to Block Obamacare Birth Control Rule

For the moment, employers can’t refuse to cover workers' birth control.
The ruling keeps the status quo for birth control

A California judge on Sunday blocked new Trump administration rules on contraception before they were to go into effect Monday. The new regulations would have let any companies with moral or religious objections to opt out of Obamacare requirements that they offer free birth control coverage in their employee health insurance plans.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr. granted an injunction stopping the rules from taking effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia, which are challenging Trump’s policy in a lawsuit led by California. The judge said the states face “potentially dire public health and fiscal consequences from the implementation of the final rules” and that the rules could mean a "substantial number" of women would lose birth control coverage.

Fifty-five million women benefited from the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act rules on contraceptive methods, which stipulated that companies must provide free birth control in their health care coverage.

Currently, certain religious employers, such as churches and other houses of worship, religious hospitals and nonprofit religious institutions of higher education are exempt from having to cover contraceptive methods and counseling in their health insurance plans.

President Trump's rule change would have expanded the the scope of employers able to opt out, including publicly traded companies, so long as they had any objections to covering contraception services on religious or moral grounds.

In addition to California, the 12 other states impacted by the ruling are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C.

There is also the possibility that a nationwide injunction could be issued in a separate case filed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

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