Christian groups and businesses once again may be forced to pay for birth control, including forms that may cause abortions, after a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration Friday.
In October, President Donald Trump’s administration provided relief from the Obamacare birth control mandate by granting wider exceptions to religious groups.
The new rules provided relief to groups like the nuns of Little Sisters of the Poor and the religious owners of Hobby Lobby, which were forced to challenge the mandate to the U.S. Supreme Court or face crippling fines. However, several state attorneys general challenged the decision.
On Friday, a challenge by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro succeeded when federal Judge Wendy Beetlestone blocked the Trump administration from enforcing the rule, according to the AP.
“The Commonwealth’s concern is that absent available cost-effective contraception, women will either forego contraception entirely or choose cheaper but less effective methods—individual choices which will result in an increase in untended pregnancies,” Beetlestone wrote. “That, in turn, will inflict economic harm on the Commonwealth because unintended pregnancies are more likely to impose additional costs on Pennsylvania’s State-funded health programs.”
Here’s more from the Washington Free Beacon:
Shapiro’s victory came after arguments in front of Judge Wendy Bettlestone Thursday, where the A.G. contended that the rollback would harm Pennsylvania’s 2.5 million women. Dr. Cynthia Chuang, of Penn State University, testified before Bettlestone that the rollback would cause “serious medical harm,” including unintended pregnancies, Courthouse News reports.
The government disagreed with this argument when, in October, Trump ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to allow for fairly broad-based religious and moral exemptions to the mandate.
The administration expected in October that only a few organizations — as few as 200 — will take advantage of the expanded exceptions. A senior administration official said then that it was expected that 99.9 percent of women will be unimpacted by this new rule.
One leading pro-life group decried the nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s interim final rule protecting employers who have religious or moral objections to providing abortion-inducing drugs and devices to their employees. The class of conscientious objectors includes employers like the Little Sisters of the Poor, as well as groups like Susan B. Anthony List.
“This is a shameful ruling that seeks to continue the Obama-era assault on conscience rights and religious liberty,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.Life News report continues