Federal Judge Blocks Rule Allowing Businesses Not to Provide Contraceptive Coverage

Undoing Obama’s legacy is proving more difficult than he thought.

Friday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule allowing almost any business to cite religious or moral beliefs to opt out of the federal requirement to cover contraception under employee health plans.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia sided with the plaintiff, the state of Pennsylvania, which argued the rule harmed working women and forced the state to shoulder the costs of birth control and unplanned pregnancies.

“The Commonwealth’s concern is . . . women will either forgo contraception entirely or choose cheaper but less effective methods – individual choices which will result in an increase in unintended pregnancies,” Beetlestone wrote in a 44-page opinion, calling the potential harm to women in Pennsylvania and nationwide “enormous and irreversible.”

It would allow an employer with a sincerely held moral conviction that women do not have a place in the workplace to simply stop providing contraceptive coverage.”

“It is difficult to comprehend a rule that does more to undermine the Contraceptive Mandate or that intrudes more into the lives of women.”

Lawmakers and other officials who oppose Trump’s efforts to dismantle Obamacare and victories on issues of reproductive rights lauded Beetlestone’s ruling.

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