New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a petition for a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s broadening of religious exemptions to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate Thursday evening.
The request for injunction argues that the administration’s October 6th broadening of the religious exemptions causes states to “suffer irreparable harm from the repercussions of denying women no-cost contraceptive coverage.”
The brief anticipates a rise in unintended pregnancy and health problems from the new rules and argues that “women’s access to contraceptive care—and decision whether and when to use contraception—is a fundamental precept of freedom and equality.”
“The vast majority of women may be deprived of contraceptive coverage in their health plans when a new plan year begins on January 1, 2018,” according to the request for preliminary injunction.
Health and Human Services officials said in October that the religious exemptions would have no impact on "99.9% of women" in the United States.
They calculated that, at most, 120,000 women would be affected, primarily those working at the roughly 200 entities that were involved in 50 or so lawsuits over the contraceptive mandate.
“If a woman can’t control her own body, she isn’t truly free,” Schneiderman said of the request for injunction. “Healthcare decisions should be made by a woman – not her boss. These retrograde rules seek to deny basic healthcare to millions of women in New York and across the country. We’ll continue to fight back and protect New Yorkers.”
Schneiderman was joined in the brief by the Attorneys General of California, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
The request for injunction follows a lawsuit against the exemptions, filed by the same group of attorneys general last week, who argue that rules allow employers to discriminate against employees through their religious beliefs and that they harm women.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, who care for the elderly poor in the U.S., are finally beginning to see some relief with Trump's new rule, along with other nonprofit religious organizations that had been involved in a five-year long lawsuit against the Obama administration over the contraceptive mandate.