Judge Wendy Beetlestone, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Obama, just issued a nationwide injunction halting the implementation of an Obamacare change designed to allow more employers opt out of providing free contraceptive care, the Washington Post is reporting:
A Pennsylvania district court judge issued a nationwide injunction Monday afternoon, just as the new policy was slated to take effect. That ruling came less than 24 hours after a California district court judge issued a more limited stay in 13 Democratic states and the District of Columbia, while challenges are being argued.
The rulings in rapid succession, both by judges appointed by Barack Obama, are the latest legal twists in a dispute over an expansion of health benefits for women under the Affordable Care Act that has wound through the courts for years.
The dispute centers on the issue of “religious liberty” — specifically, the extent to which the government should carve out exceptions for churches, religious group and even non-religious employers that object to birth control coverage based on their beliefs. The Obama administration had narrow exceptions and a system of “accommodations” – a work-around to religious objections – in which a third-party insurer would cover birth control even if the employer did not.
But President Trump widened the circumstances under which employers could claim exemptions in an effort to accommodate social conservatives.
The Trump administration rules allow objections to covering birth control on moral grounds, as well as religious ones. They broaden the range of employers able to claim such objections to include essentially all non-governmental workplaces. And they give the employer the choice of whether to permit a workaround accommodation.
Another example of a judge who has joined the resistance.
A U.S. judge in California on Sunday blocked Trump administration rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, D.C.
Judge Haywood Gilliam granted a request for a preliminary injunction by California, 12 other states and Washington, D.C.
The plaintiffs sought to prevent the rules from taking effect as scheduled on Monday while a lawsuit against them moved forward.
But Gilliam limited the scope of the ruling to the plaintiffs, rejecting their request that he block the rules nationwide.
The changes would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women by claiming religious objections.
Some private employers could also object on moral grounds.
California and the other states argue that women would be forced to turn to state-funded programs for birth control and experience unintended pregnancies.
This is but another example of an out of control judge blocking perfectly legitimate and legal actions of the Trump administration in an attempt to slow down the dismantling of Obamacare.
Democrats argues that employers have no right to interfere in women’s health decisions.
If employers have no say, then that’s fine, but then employers shouldn’t have to pay for coverage they have no say in.