Appeals court upholds decision barring Trump birth-control exemptions

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court decision blocking a revised set of Trump administration rules allowing employers with religious or moral objections to opt out of providing their workers with birth-control coverage. The court's decision, which applies nationwide, makes it much less likely that the administration will be able to fashion an exemption acceptable to the courts. HHS is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. The Trump administration's rules would have exempted a broad swath of employers from the mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Those rules represented a second attempt by Trump officials to create such an exemption, after a first set was blocked in 2017. Judge Patty Schwartz, writing for the court, said the ACA plainly states women must be provided preventive health services. "Nowhere in the enabling statute did Congress grant the agency the authority to exempt entities from providing insurance coverage for such services," she wrote.

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