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Trump's new rules on birth control blocked by federal judge
A federal judge in Philadelphia rejected Trump administration changes to the Affordable Care Act, which would have allowed more employers to refuse to provide free contraception to women because of religious objections,
By Delila James
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — A federal judge handed the Trump administration a setback Friday when she temporarily blocked the government from enforcing new rules that could dramatically reduce women's access to free birth control.

Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia rejected changes to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which would have allowed more employers to refuse to provide free contraception to women because of religious objections, according to a report by ABC News.

The judge, who was appointed by President Obama, criticized the rule that would allow any company not publicly traded to opt out of providing free contraception on moral grounds, saying it "conjured up a world where a government entity is empowered to impose its own version of morality on each one of us. That cannot be right."

Lawyers for the Trump administration argued in court documents that the law promotes religious freedom.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who brought the suit, said the rules violate the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws because they apply to women and not men, and the First Amendment because they put employers' religious beliefs over women's constitutional rights.

"Employers religious beliefs should never determine the care a woman receives," said Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women's Law Center.

The injunction will stop implementation of the new rules across the nation as the case moves forward in the courts. Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia have joined California in a lawsuit over the rules. Washington and Massachusetts also have sued the Trump administration over the issue.