Federal Judge Blocks Birth Control Exemptions

Federal Judge in Blocks Birth Control Exemptions
Federal Judge in Blocks Birth Control Exemptions

U.S. District Judge, Wendy Beetlestone, ruled against the Trump administration’s newly proposed birth control coverage rules for employers this week. In a landmark case being hailed as a “win” by the left, Beetlestone denied the motion and issued a nationwide injunction forcing employers to maintain coverage for contraceptives.

Key Facts

  • Originally, the Trump administration wanted to make it possible for employers to refuse to provide no-copay birth control coverage on workplace health insurance plans. If the rules had been approved, they would have officially begun Monday, January 21, 2019, instantly allowing employers to apply for an exemption over self-identified religious or moral objections.
  • Trump has been collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor and the U.S. Treasury on the now-halted guidelines for months. The hope was that it would give employers more power to practice their own beliefs, even at work.
  • Prior to Obamacare, employers in most states did have the right to choose whether or not to provide health insurance covering contraceptives. An early mandate revoked this right, forcing employers to choose contraceptive inclusive coverage plans for employees – and denying them the right to even ask for a copay!
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  • Over the past few months, Trump and other government departments have been pushing to restore employer’s rights to deny coverage for birth control. Unfortunately, the Left has consistently pushed back and Beetlestone is now the second of two judges to refuse approval.
  • Beetlestone believes that taking away coverage for birth control under work health insurance plans will be disastrous.”The negative effects of even a short period of decreased access to no-cost contraceptive services are irreversible,” she explained. Seems a little bit dramatic, no?
  • The Pennsylvania judge also explained that she believes the rules did not fall in line with the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This makes sense; after all, the administration was attempting to roll back part of the Affordable Care Act in the first place. Unfortunately, she didn’t see the logic; instead, she said the lack of fit was exactly what “prohibits HHS from providing such exemptions.”
  • In closing, she also cautioned states to think carefully about the rules, should they ever be passed. States could be forced to cover the cost of contraceptives if employers are ever granted the right to refuse again. Of course, that doesn’t mean all is lost; it just means the fight goes on.
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