Five states are going to court to try to preserve an Obamacare mandate that forces employers and insurance plans to offer free birth control.
California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia late Thursday filed a request for a preliminary injunction to stop federal regulations that weaken Obamacare’s birth control mandate. California had sued to stop the rollback after it was announced by the Trump administration in early October.
“These backwards rules will deny millions of women across the U.S. access to healthcare, unconstitutionally permitting discrimination against women,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Thursday about the new court filing. “The Affordable Care Act protects women’s access to healthcare. We will not stand by while the Trump Administration continues to disregard the rule of law.”
The Trump administration issued two interim rules in early October that would exempt employers from Obamacare’s requirement of having to provide birth control if they have a religious or moral objection. The rule would largely roll back the mandate, and administration officials said the reason was to halt attacks on religious liberty.
The birth control mandate exempted religious organizations such as churches but didn’t give a religious or moral exemption to general employers.
The injunction request from the five states asks a federal district court in California to immediately halt the interim rule. The states say the rules violate the separation of church and state outlined in the Constitution.
The rules went into effect immediately, which prompted a concern about the impact on the states, the court filing adds.
The states argue that the Trump administration failed to provide notice and comments as required under federal law. They add that the administration offered “no persuasive reason to circumvent the normal rule-making process, relying primarily on their desire to implement the regulations as soon as possible.”
The Department of Health and Human Services did not return a request for comment.