POLITICO reports that on Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from implementing rules which would allow employers to claim religious or moral objections to providing birth control as part of their insurance packages. The injunction was granted by Judge Wendy Beetlestone who wrote that Pennsylvania could suffer “serious and irreparable harm” from the Trump administration’s new rules.
“The Commonwealth’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,” Beetlestone wrote in her opinion. “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.”
For its part, the Trump administration argues that it is protecting individuals and business organizations from being forced to violate their religious beliefs by paying for birth control.
However, many women and pro-choice activists have argued that this rule will make it more difficult for women to control their own bodies and will force them to rely on less effective methods of birth control. Ironically enough, considering Trump’s pro-life stance, some studies show that access to birth control is one of the best deterrents to abortion because it allows women to plan when they wish to have children.
“A new study by investigators at Washington University reports that providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduces unplanned pregnancies and cuts abortion rates by a range of 62 to 78 percent compared to the national rate.”
In the days and weeks following the announcement of Trump’s order, many people took to social media to make their voices heard.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) December 15, 2017
We all deserve to have the freedom to live and plan our lives with dignity. #HandsOffMyBC
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) October 6, 2017
Was the plan to take away birth control on anniversary of Access Hollywood tape release to underscore how creepy DJT is? #handsoffmyBC
— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) October 6, 2017
Birth control is not health care alone. It’s the right of women to control their bodies, plan their families, chart their futures. For many women, it is prohibitively expensive to access the best method for them. It is beyond belief that this is still up for debate. #HandsOffMyBC
— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) October 6, 2017
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) October 6, 2017
Other tweets pointed out the hypocrisy of some of the GOP’s policies such as promoting easy access to Viagra or guns over birth control for women.
GOP approves of Viagra, but pulls birth control coverage. Further proof Republicans don’t actually know where babies come from #HandsOffMyBC
— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) October 6, 2017
If only guns were as regulated as my birth control. #HandsoffmyBC
— darvijen (@darvijen) October 6, 2017
In addition to Pennsylvania, a judge in California heard arguments regarding the same issue and is expected to issue a ruling within the coming weeks. Four states, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia, have joined California’s suit.
The Trump administration has not yet responded to the judge’s ruling though it is likely that the Department of Justice may appeal the decision.
Featured image via Getty Images.