A second federal court has blocked President Trump’s attempt to drastically scale back Obamacare’s mandate that birth control be offered at no cost.
A judge with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction Thursday over two interim final rules that roll back the mandate. The order, in response to a lawsuit from California, comes about a week after a federal judge in Pennsylvania made a similar order.
The order prevents the interim rules that scale back the mandate from going into effect until the lawsuit runs its course.
The California judge found that the Trump administration rushed out the two rules that go into effect immediately, not leaving the public enough time to comment on them.
The judge said in the order that the administration failed to “provide the public with an advance opportunity to comment, making it impossible for the agency to consider the input of any interested parties before enactment.”
The order also questioned the reason for the two rules, which was to limit the birth control mandate in order to preserve religious liberty.
Obamacare required employers to provide birth control at no cost, a way to address parity in healthcare costs as women pay more than men for healthcare.
The rules allow any employer to not provide birth control at all if that employer has a religious or moral objection to birth control.
That is a drastic change from the process under the Obama administration. It gave an exemption for the mandate to religious institutions such as churches.
Obama’s White House also carved out a compromise for religious organizations such as nonprofits and universities that did not want to provide birth control. Under the compromise, employees of these organizations would still get birth control but the government would pick up the tab.
The Supreme Court ruled that privately held companies with strong religious beliefs could also take advantage of the compromise.
A group of religious organizations that include the Little Sisters of the Poor charity and University of Notre Dame separately sued the Obama administration, charging that they still play a role in facilitating employees getting birth control. Nine lower appellate courts considered the lawsuits, and the issue got all the way to the Supreme Court.
But a short-handed Supreme Court last year punted the case back to the nine lower courts to reach an agreement.
The federal judge on Friday wrote that it believed the compromise did not violate religious liberty. It cited the opinion of eight of the nine appellate courts that ruled the compromise doesn’t violate religious liberty under federal law.