Attorneys general in five states have asked a federal judge to halt the implementation of the Trump administration’s changes to the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate.
The AFA, or Obamacare, required employers to offer health insurance that covers birth control with no co-pay. Under the Obama administration, the rule asked employers to cover all forms of contraception, from birth control pills to emergency contraception. It offered exemptions for houses of worship and some private companies.
New federal rules that took effect in October offer an exemption to the mandate for any for-profit or nonprofit employer or insurer, based upon moral or religious grounds. The changes allow publicly traded companies to obtain a religious exemption, but not a moral objection.
On Thursday, attorneys general in California, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia filed the motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The filing is part of a lawsuit instigated by the states in October, which contends that the policy change is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman argued that the changes to the Obama-era rule will deny millions of women basic health care.
“If a woman can’t control her own body, she isn’t truly free,” he said. “Health care decisions should be made by a woman — not her boss. These retrograde rules seek to deny basic healthcare to millions of women in New York and across the country. We’ll continue to fight back and protect New Yorkers.”
Businesses that found the requirement objectionable were mainly concerned about paying for access to emergency contraception and intrauterine devices, or IUDs. Some IUDs may prevent a fertilized egg from developing by slowing down the growth of the uterine lining, making it inhospitable for the eggs. As the eggs are fertilized, IUDs are considered to be similar to an abortion by some.