Jan. 13 (Reuters) – A California judge partially blocked Sunday a set of Trump administrative rules allowing employers not to subscribe to health insurance covering birth control for women.
US District Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland has granted a preliminary injunction application by 14 Democratic Attorneys General. The rules, which are to come into effect Jan. 14, allow businesses and nonprofit organizations to obtain exemptions from Obamacare 's obligation to receive contraceptive coverage for moral or religious reasons.
Led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Attorneys General had sought an injunction at the national level, but Gilliam limited his decision to states that challenged the rules.
Gilliam has not yet made a final decision in this case, but said the rules probably violated federal law.
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The states involved also include Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, the State of New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, the United States of America and the United States. Washington State, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
"Today's court decision ends a new attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care," Becerra said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice, who defended the rules in court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Affordable Care Act, 2010 known as the Obamacare, required employers to cover contraception as part of their health care plan without cost-sharing but provided for exemptions for religious places of worship .
In October 2017, the Trump administration said it would expand existing exemptions and add "moral conviction" as the basis for withdrawing birth control.
Conservative Christian activists and congressional Republicans have hailed this initiative, while reproductive rights advocates and Democrats have criticized it.
Attorneys General brought a lawsuit soon after the announcement of the rules, claiming that they were invalid under a law governing the implementation of these regulations.
Gilliam said Sunday that Attorneys General had the legal capacity to file a complaint because the rules would cause them economic harm.
State governments would be forced to provide additional birth control coverage and pay for health care costs associated with an increase in unwanted pregnancies, the judge said.
Gilliam stated that the "moral conviction" exemption created by the Trump government did not result in the protection of the Constitution for freedom of religion and was "inconsistent with the language and purpose of" Obamacare.
Gilliam had previously blocked an intermediate version of the rules. A court of appeal upheld this injunction, but limited it to the states involved in the case. (Report by Jan Wolfe, edited by Alexia Garamfalvi and Grant McCool)