If there’s one thing nearly every member of the Republican party can agree on, it’s attempting to control the reproductive decisions of women in the United States. From their attacks on Planned Parenthood to restrictive abortion legislation, the GOP loves sticking their noses where they don’t belong.
One of the most recent restrictions regarding reproductive choice came in the form of rules issued by the Trump administration which would have rolled back the birth control provisions in Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that most companies cover contraception for women at no additional cost.
Shortly after Trump was elected, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said companies could opt out of providing birth control on moral or religious grounds.
But a federal judge in Pennsylvania has issued an injunction which blocks implementation of the Trump rules. Judge Wendy Beetlestone ruled that the state is:
“Likely to suffer serious and irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction.”
In her 44-page ruling Judge Beetlestone also wrote:
“The Commonwealth’s [of Pennsylvania’s] concern is absent available cost-effective contraception, women will either forgo contraception entirely or choose cheaper but less effective methods — individual choices which will result in an increase in unintended pregnancies. That in turn will inflict economic harm on the Commonwealth because unintended pregnancies are more likely to impose additional costs on Pennsylvania’s state-funded health programs.”
The rollback of the birth control mandate in the ACA is also under court challenge in other parts of the country. Just this week, a federal judge in California heard arguments on a similar case and is expected to issue a ruling in the coming days. The California motion has also been joined by four other states: Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said after the ruling that unless Congress changes the contraception provisions of the ACA, the White House has no power to overturn sections of the health care law:
“Donald Trump broke the law to undermine women’s health, and women here in Pennsylvania stood up and proved that in court. Together we’ve won a nationwide halt to these rules, protecting women across the country.”