A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that will prevent businesses and nonprofits from denying birth control coverage on the basis of a religious or moral objection, but has limited the scope of the order to include only the five states—California, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Virginia—that sued to block the rules last year.
In 2017, the Trump administration issued new rules allowing employers and universities to opt out an Affordable Care Act mandate requiring coverage of contraception if it conflicted with the employer’s religious or moral beliefs. Two federal judges promptly blocked the rules, decisions which the Department of Justice appealed.
Reuters reports on the newest ruling:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Thursday the injunction issued in California should not apply nationwide, but only within the five states that sued over the policy. California’s attorney general filed the case, along with AGs in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland and New York.
Despite the 9th Circuit ruling, a nationwide injunction issued by the Philadelphia judge is still in effect while that case is under appeal at the 3rd Circuit, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s attorney general said on Thursday.
“It is reasonably probable that women in the plaintiff states will lose some or all employer-sponsored contraceptive coverage,” wrote Judge J. Clifford Wallace in the court’s 2-1 decision. Wallace justified limiting the injunction to five states by citing a lack of evidence of “economic impact.”
“While the record before the district court was voluminous on the harm to the plaintiffs, it was not developed as to the economic impact on other states,” the decision read.
I honestly can’t believe we’re still doing this shit.