Home Living Today Culture State Lawsuits Against Contraception Mandate Exceptions Would Gut Religious Liberty By Margot Cleveland

State Lawsuits Against Contraception Mandate Exceptions Would Gut Religious Liberty By Margot Cleveland

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For moral reasons, individuals and organizations have sought for years to avoid funding contraceptives. Now states are suing so they also don’t have to pay for contraceptives.
Margot Cleveland

Within hours of the Trump administration’s release of new rules expanding the religious-based exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s abortifacient and birth control mandate, left-leaning organizations and liberal states filed a flurry of lawsuits. The American Civil Liberties Union and the SEIU-UHW (a labor organization representing health-care workers) filed suit in a federal court in San Francisco, while Massachusetts’ attorney general raced to the local federal courthouse for the same purpose. A few days later, the attorneys general of Washington state and Pennsylvania initiated two additional lawsuits.

The largest coalition attacking the interim final rules came when the attorneys general of California, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia joined to challenge the Trump administration’s exemption in a federal court in California. That multi-state coalition has now emerged as the first set of plaintiffs to file a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the new rules from going into effect.

On Thursday, the blue-state attorneys general filed their request for an injunction with federal judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., an Obama appointee confirmed to the bench three years ago. A hearing on the request is scheduled for February 8, 2018, when the parties will appear in Gilliam’s Oakland, California courtroom to argue the motion. In the interim, much can be gleaned from the attorneys general’s memorandum filed with the court, including the legal theories and precedent on which the states rely.

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