ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Trump HHS Change To Birth Control Mandate

October 6, 2017 1:37 p.m.

Less than two hours after the Trump administration unveiled its widely expected move to gut Obamacare’s birth control mandate, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Friday that it was filing a lawsuit challenging the regulation change.

The lawsuit is being filed on the behalf of a Notre Dame Law student, Kate Rochat, as well as members of a union, Service Employee International Union-United Health Care Workers West. The ACLU in its press release said they “are at risk of losing their contraception coverage because of where they work or where they go to school. ”

The lawsuit challenges the regulations on both administrative grounds — arguing that the administration has not shown the required “good cause” for implementing the regulation without a public comment period — and also on the substance of the regulations. The lawsuit argues that the Trump administration’s move violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause and the right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the rule is also illegal under the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex discrimination and its prohibition of the Health Human Services Secretary from implementing regulations that create “unreasonable barriers” to accessing medical care.

Earlier Friday, the Trump administration posted what’s known as an “interim rule,”  meaning that the administration is using a fast-track process and the regulation change is going into effect immediately. The administration is going forward with two interim rules, technically: one that creates a sweeping exemption to the Obamacare birth control mandate for religious objectors, and a second that extends that exemption to those who have objections based on “moral convictions.”

Under an accommodation offered by Obama’s HHS, employers with religious objections would notify the government about their objection, and the government then would seek to get the coverage for the affected women through through a third party administrator. The accommodation was subject to numerous lawsuits that were never fully resolved.

Now, thanks to the Trump administration rule change, any entity with religious or moral objections to birth control no longer has to notify the government of their objections. They can cease the coverage, and are only required to inform their employees of the change to their health plans.

Like the accommodation that proceeded it, the Trump rule stands to be the target of multiple lawsuits. Other groups and individuals have signaled they will likely sue the administration over it.

Read the complaint below:

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