In what advocacy groups hailed as a major victory for women’s reproductive rights, a federal judge late Sunday stopped President Donald Trump’s widely denounced attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control mandate from going into effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
“We should be the ones making our own healthcare decisions—not our bosses and not Trump. We’ll never stop fighting for that.”
— NARAL Pro-Choice America
“Because of this injunction, women in 13 states can still access birth control under the ACA,” Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, wrote on Twitter. “Birth control is critical healthcare that helps millions lead the lives they want. We should be finding ways to increase access, not limit it.”
Women’s rights groups were quick to point out that the fight to protect birth control throughout the entirety of the U.S. continues, as the judge rejected a request to block the rules nationwide.
Celebrating the judge’s decision as “excellent news,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) noted that it is only a limited and “temporary reprieve” and declared that “we must keep fighting to protect birth control coverage.”
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“These rules from the Trump administration were some of the most insidious in its ongoing effort to undermine women’s health,” DeGette wrote.
The judge’s ruling protects contraceptive coverage in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
As Amanda Michelle Gomez of ThinkProgress pointed out, “A similar lawsuit is playing out in a Pennsylvania federal courthouse—meaning, there’s a chance for another court to issue a nationwide injunction.”
“We should be the ones making our own healthcare decisions—not our bosses and not Trump,” added NARAL Pro-Choice America. “We’ll never stop fighting for that.”
The ACA’s birth control mandate requires that employer-provided health insurance plans include coverage for free or low-cost birth control.
With its attempted rollback of the mandate, the Trump administration is seeking to dramatically expand so-called “religious exemptions” from the law and allow employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage for “moral” reasons.
“With California and 13 other states, we just secured a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to allow employers to interfere and deny millions of women and their families access to cost-free birth control guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose state joined the lawsuit against the Trump administration’s rollback, wrote on Twitter following the judge’s ruling.
“The law couldn’t be clearer—employers have no business interfering in women’s healthcare decisions,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra added in a statement. “Today’s court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women’s access to basic reproductive care. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive healthcare they are guaranteed under the law.”