Since taking office in January, President Trump has made it evident that rolling back the dozens of Obama-era progressions is his top priority. Perhaps one of the foremost regressions he has promoted is that of renouncing and diminishing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as ObamaCare. However, despite the plethora of actions taken against the national health care system, judicial officers, lawmakers, and individual citizens have remained steadfast in their fight to retain the health services so crucially required by millions of Americans.
In the more recent battle on the ObamaCare front, has been the Trump administration’s attempt to permit the exception of birth control requirements on the grounds of moral and religious reasoning. On Thursday, a federal judge in California blocked the allowance of moral and religious exceptions to birth control requirements, the second time in only a week that a court ruling has gone against the administration.
— David Jones (@davidjones720) December 21, 2017
Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr., in the District Court for the Northern District of California, blocked the allowance by granting an injunction in court, coming on the heels of a similar ruling that took place last Friday in the state of Pennsylvania.
In regards to the ObamaCare system itself, the legislation currently requires that most companies provide and cover costs of birth control and other preventive care to women without any additional cost to the employee themselves. However, in an attempt to roll back this provision in the legislation, the Trump administration argued that such a requirement would infringe on moral and religious rights of various businesses around the country, thus claiming it to be illegitimate. Federal guidelines implemented in October currently permit for-profit and nonprofit employers to use the moral and religious grounding is a justification for their arguments, stating that such companies or organizations may discontinue the birth-control mandate if made on the aforementioned claims.
As a means of blocking the administration’s guidelines, however, the recent California ruling found that the interim policies outlined by President Trump’s officials were made hastily, without permitting the general public to provide comments regarding the requirement. In doing so, the injunction issued stated that, “the plaintiffs face potentially dire public health and fiscal consequences as a result of a process as to which they had no input,” providing insight into the need for those affected to shed light on the issues that occur if the birth control mandate is repealed. By removing the requirement, employers would no longer be seen as legally enforced to provide the contraceptive care, and would instead leave the entirety of discretion with the business owner as to how they wish to proceed.
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) December 21, 2017
The initial lawsuit in California was filed by the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra. In doing so, Becerra claimed that the health care and coverage of a woman is not dependent on the policies or interests of the individuals running the business, nor the lawmakers in office, but rather the individual herself and the initiatives she feels best ensures her health and safety. Becerra lauded the court’s decision to block the administration’s requirement removal, and claimed that it shed light on the reality that such issues are not matters of politicization, but rather well-being.
Since the ruling in California, other judicial officials have followed in suit, claiming that the attempt to dismantle the birth control mandate would bring about significant and extensive harm to the women in their state. One judge who did so is that of Judge Wendy Beetlestone who resides on the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, as she agreed that the injunction from Judge Gilliam Jr. was not only justified, but applied to a myriad of other states, including Pennsylvania. As of now, California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia have all moved to file similar injunctions in regards to the birth control mandate of the ACA, further blocking President Trump’s attempt to do away with the guidelines of the legislation.
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