A federal appeals court has ruled against the Trump administration, upholding a lower court decision that blocked the implementation of a set of rules that would allow employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, employers are required to offer health insurance coverage for contraceptives for their employees, with the additional stipulation that there be no co-pay for the employees. The Trump administration, however, in one of its many efforts to undermine or eliminate Obamacare, established a set of rules that would have allowed employers to deny employees health insurance coverage for contraceptives over the employer’s religious or moral objections.
The ruling by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia yesterday upheld a lower court’s order blocking the implementation of the rules, which were issued by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor, and Department of the Treasury. The plaintiffs in the underlying lawsuit against the Trump administration are the attorneys general of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who lauded yesterday’s ruling. According to The Hill:
A federal appeals court on Friday blocked Trump administration rules that would allow employers to deny workers insurance coverage for birth control due to religious or moral objections. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to block the rules from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), siding with the Democratic attorneys general of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. … Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) hailed the ruling on Friday as a legal win for access to birth control across the country. …The agency (HHS) is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in praising the appeals court ruling, decried these Trump administration contraceptive rules as discriminatory toward women, according to The Hill, with ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling saying in statement, “Yet another court has stopped this administration from sanctioning discrimination under the guise of religion or morality. 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. We applaud the order to enjoin the enforcement of these discriminatory rules.”