Ninth Circuit Court Refuses to Fully Lift Ban on Trump’s Religious Exemptions to Obama’s Contraception Mandate

Nuns rally before Zubik v. Burwell, an appeal brought by Christian groups demanding full exemption from the requirement to provide insurance covering contraception under the Affordable Care Act, is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 23, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

A circuit court has refused to fully lift an injunction against the Trump administration’s broad exemption for religious objections to the HHS’ contraception mandate that requires the coverage of birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

In October 2017, the Trump administration issued two new interim federal rules that allowed for any nonprofit or for-profit entity with religious or moral objections to get an exemption from the HHS’ contraception mandate.

This was a contrast to the narrower religious exemptions under the Obama administration, which first instituted the HHS contraception mandate. The previous administration’s action was met with dozens of lawsuits from organizations and businesses that held religious objections to providing coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia sued the federal government over the new exemption rules, with U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granting a nationwide injunction.

In a decision released Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 to partially uphold Judge Gilliam’s injunction.

Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace delivered the opinion of the panel, being joined by Circuit Judge Susan P. Graber. Senior Circuit Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld filed a dissent.

Judge Wallace wrote that the panel agreed to affirm the lower court’s preliminary injunction for the states involved in the litigation, but not nationwide.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski