Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump Roll-Back of Contraceptive Mandate

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December 15, 2017

A federal judge issued an injunction Friday temporarily blocking the implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order rolling back the controversial contraceptive mandate component of ObamaCare.

The injunction came following a lawsuit spearheaded by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D.), the Hill reports. On Twitter, Shapiro called the injunction "a critical victory for millions of women and families and for the rule of law."

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 mandate itself, propagated under ObamaCare, required employers to pay for contraception as part of the insurance they provide for their female employees. Religious entities, including many Catholic-affiliated organizations, objected, citing moral concerns as to the propriety of contraceptives.

Those objections, and the Obama administration’s various attempts to accommodate them, eventually made their way to the Supreme Court. There, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Court found that closely held corporations could claim a religious conscience exemption; a similar case, Zubik v. Burwell, was underway at the time of the Trump rollback.

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.

A study, authored by the left-leaning, Planned Parenthood-associated Guttmacher Institute, and focusing on the period between 2012 and 2015, including when the mandate was implemented, found "no changes in contraceptive use patterns among sexually active women."