A federal judge from Pennsylvania issued a temporary injunction today against the Trump administration’s contraception coverage rules for the Affordable Care Act. The administration’s changes to the Obama-era birth control benefit would have allowed employers, universities and insurers to deny women comprehensive reproductive health care coverage by citing religious or moral objections—opening up existing loopholes to give employers and entire insurance companies the legal basis to discriminate against women.
The Obama administration mandated that employers cover birth control for employees, putting an end to the all-too-common practice of women paying out of pocket for birth control and thusly saving them thousands over their lifetimes. According to a study conducted by The Guttmacher Institute, the widespread availability of contraceptive means has been proven beneficial in terms of the overall health and wellbeing of women and their families.
Today’s ruling tentatively upholds the regulations established by the Affordable Care Act. In issuing the ruling, Judge Wendy Beetlestone cited the states’ likelihood to “suffer serious and irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction.”
In October, the Trump administration announced that they would be rescinding those existing regulations on birth control, replacing them instead with new rules that would effectively end the life-saving coverage women have come to rely on. Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal called the Trump administration rules “a discriminatory attack on women.” The administration’s efforts are coupled with ongoing attacks on women’s reproductive health care by GOP lawmakers, including attempts to allow employers to forgo not only birth control coverage, but maternal heath care and abortion coverage and allowing employers to discriminate against employees who use coverage for abortion or contraception costs.
Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, applauded the ruling in a press release. “Thanks to a Pennsylvania court, the Trump Administration’s illegal and discriminatory rules allowing employers to take birth control coverage away from women has been blocked,” she said. “The battle is not over. We will continue fighting against these rules to ensure women get birth control coverage no matter where they work. Employers’ religious beliefs should never determine the care a woman receives.”
Sarah Alexander is a recent graduate of Cal State Northridge. In addition to being a writer, she is a visual and performing artist, and attempts to use film, music and online platforms to spark conversation about social activism. She is an anomalous LA native, which affects her personality in a plethora of unique ways.