Monday, June 17, 2019

In a victory for reproductive rights, judge blocks Trump’s attempt to rollback birth control coverage

"Today is a good day. Because of this injunction, women in 13 states can still access birth control under the ACA."

Update: Pennsylvania District Judge Wendy Beetlestone has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s rollback of the ACA’s birth control mandate nationwide. The Trump administration will likely appeal the decision but for now, the birth control mandate is safe nationally rather than just in the 13 states that had filed lawsuits to block the rollbacks.

In a major victory for women’s reproductive rights, a federal judge on Sunday blocked President Trump’s attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.

The judge granted a request by 13 states, as well as the District of Columbia, that asked for a temporary block on the Trump’s administrations plans to put new rules in place that would make it much easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for birth control.

Under the Affordable Care Act, contraception is covered as a preventative health service, meaning employers and insurers are generally required to cover it at no extra charge to patients. The Trump administration is attempting to enact new rules that would make it so that employers could opt out of the mandate if they have religious or moral objections.

“Today is a good day,” write Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood. “Because of this injunction, women in 13 states can still access birth control under the ACA. Birth control is critical healthcare that helps millions lead the lives they want. We should be finding ways to increase access, not limit it.”

Although this is a major victory, the fight is not over for women’s reproductive rights in the United States. The judge granted the temporary block in the 13 states that asked for it but declined to block the rules nationwide. A similar ongoing lawsuit in Pennsylvania, however, has the chance to have a court issue a nationwide injunction.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) stated that the victory is a “temporary reprieve” and that “we must keep fighting to protect birth control coverage.”

The 13 states the judge’s ruling affects are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

“The law couldn’t be clearer – employers have no business interfering in women’s healthcare decisions,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Today’s court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive healthcare they are guaranteed under the law.”

The ACA mandate is popular with Americans in general. 77 percent of women and 64 percent of men support no-cost coverage, but it remains very unpopular with the religious right. The Trump administration has been working since Trump took office to enact rules that would make it so many more companies have the opportunity to opt out of the mandate.

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