Trump contraceptive rules blocked nationwide
by Kiley Crossland & Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/14/19, 05:35 pm
UPDATE: A federal judge in Philadelphia issued a nationwide injunction Monday against new Trump administration rules that would have allowed employers with moral or religious objections to birth control and abortifacient drugs to opt out of the Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide coverage for the drugs for free to their employees. U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone said the exemptions could harm women who might lose coverage and states that would have to pick up the costs. A federal judge in California blocked the rule from taking effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia late Sunday but declined to apply it nationwide.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (12:11 p.m.): A federal judge in California late Sunday blocked new Trump administration rules that would have expanded freedom-of-conscience exemptions to the federal contraceptive and abortifacient mandate starting Monday. U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. granted a request for a preliminary injunction by 13 states and the District of Columbia, which are suing the Trump administration over the rules. He declined to apply the ruling nationwide, instead limiting the order to the states involved in the lawsuit. But a judge in Pennsylvania could issue a nationwide injunction in a similar case any day.
The updated rules would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, with religious and moral objections to opt out of the Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients in employee health plans. Houses of worship and certain private companies are already exempt.
“No American should be forced to violate his or her own conscience in order to abide by the laws and regulations governing our healthcare system,” Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Sunday. “The final rules affirm the Trump administration’s commitment to upholding the freedoms afforded all Americans under our Constitution.”
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Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.