'Dangerous, Discriminatory and Unlawful': Why We Blocked Trump's Birth Control Objection Rules

Controversial new rules to expand the grounds on which companies can refuse to cover employees' birth control hit a judicial roadblock Sunday.

Some businesses would have been allowed to stop coverage on the basis of "religion" and "morality." But an injunction granted by a California district judge put a hold on these expanded exemptions in 13 states and Washington, D.C.

Read more: Trump administration rule allowing employers to deny free birth control blocked by federal judge

Oakland judge Haywood S Gilliam Jr. granted the motion for a preliminary injunction against the new rules on the request of attorney generals from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

On Monday, Pennsylvania federal judge Wendy Beetlestone imposed a nationwide injunction, according to NPR.

In court documents filed in December, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and colleagues claimed the new Trump administration rules would cause "irreparable harm." The new injunction would sustain no-cost access to birth control for millions of women, upholding guarantees set out in the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

Newsweek reached out to attorney generals in the states that backed December's court filing—those who had supported the request themselselves, and those picking up the mantle—to find out why their states backed the motion.

Bob Ferguson, attorney general for Washington state, told Newsweek:

"President Trump's unlawful and harmful birth control rules will go into effect in most states Monday—but not Washington, thanks to our legal challenge. I filed this lawsuit because the rules are unlawful, and Washingtonians would be harmed.

"After two years of litigating against the Trump administration, the people of Washington still haven't lost a case."

Mark Herring, attorney general for Virginia, shared the following statement with Newsweek:

"This is an important win for Virginia women, and sends a message to the Trump administration that my colleagues and I will continue to oppose their dangerous, discriminatory, and unlawful infringements on women's health.

"Women should be able to make their own health care decisions without interference from their employer or the government, especially when it comes to reproductive health. Our decision to fight back against this misguided and unlawful policy will help protect hundreds of thousands of Virginia women."

Xavier Becerra, attorney general for California said in a statement:

"The law couldn't be clearer—employers have no business interfering in women's health care decisions.

"[Sunday's] court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care. It's 2019, yet the Trump administration is still trying to roll back women's rights. Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive health care they are guaranteed under the law."

William Tong, attorney general for Connecticut (assumed office January 9), shared a statement with Newsweek:

"I welcome the court's decision to issue a preliminary injunction at this time, which demonstrates the strength of the states' case and our likelihood of succeeding on the merits.

"The health care choices that women make are decisions that should belong to each individual woman and her doctor, not her employer or the federal government. This effort to deny access to basic women's health care is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to roll back women's rights and Connecticut won't stand for it.

"I will continue to work in partnership with California and other states on this case to ensure that women's ability to get the quality care that they need and deserve is protected under our law."

Keith Ellison, attorney general for Minnesota (assumed office January 7) shared a statement with Newsweek:

"We joined this lawsuit to help women keep their access to reproductive health care under the ACA because all women, like all people, should be able to afford their lives and live with dignity. Employers are entitled to their personal religious beliefs: It's unlawful, unconstitutional and wrong for the administration to let employers impose those personal religious beliefs on employees to keep women from getting affordable birth control. I'm glad that the court blocked these rules [Sunday]. We will actively participate in any appeal."

Clare Connors, attorney general, Hawaii (assumed office January 3) shared a statement with Newsweek:

"The court's comprehensive order safeguards access to health care services.

"The injunction prevents the Trump administration from implementing restrictions on the lawful right of women to make their own health care decisions. We will continue to stand with our colleagues to ensure women have access to the health care they are guaranteed under the law."

The offices of the attorney generals from New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, District of Columbia, Maryland, Illinois, North Carolina and Delaware did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Birth Control, Donald Trump, Contraception, Injunction, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare
Demonstrators rally in front of the Supreme Court on June 30, 2014, in Washington, D.C. before it ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
'Dangerous, Discriminatory and Unlawful': Why We Blocked Trump's Birth Control Objection Rules | U.S.