A federal court in Pennsylvania issued a national injunction on two Trump administration rules that would make it easier for employers and universities to deny women birth control coverage, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Monday afternoon.
President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensured that birth control was covered in employer-provided health insurance plans as a preventative service. Under the guise of "religious freedom," the Trump administration issued a policy in November that gave employers more flexibility to deny coverage for contraception based on religious beliefs and "non-religious moral convictions" against birth control. The final rules were extremely similar to the interim rules introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services in late 2017.
The Obamacare contraception mandate, known as the Women's Health Amendment, allowed more than 55 million women in the U.S. to have access to birth control without copayments. Under the Trump administration's regulations, thousands of women could be at risk of losing their access to the contraception they're currently receiving at no additional cost or at a low one.
More than a dozen states sued the Trump administration over the final rules, arguing they violated the Affordable Care Act and would cost significant financial harm to women who relied on the mandate to obtain their birth control. Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Oakland, CA issued a preliminary injunction. He wrote in his decision the final rules “are nearly identical" to the interim ones blocked in late 2017 and still in violation of the ACA.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement: "[Sunday's] court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care. It’s 2019, yet the Trump administration is still trying to roll back women's rights. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive health care they are guaranteed under the law."
Reproductive rights advocates celebrated the win as well.
"As a doctor, I cannot believe that we are still debating birth control in 2019, something that nine in 10 women will use in our lifetimes. Affordable, accessible birth control is why the U.S. has reached the lowest unintended pregnancy rate in 30 years," Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "It’s time that politicians recognise birth control as health care and that women, in consultation with doctors, decide what contraception we receive — not our employers."
This story was originally published at 3:11 p.m. It has since been updated.