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Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 16, 2019 / 12:23 am (CNA).- A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously blocked Department of Health and Human Services rules that would have exempted employers who want to opt out of coverage for artificial contraception for moral or religious reasons.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a district court’s January decision to block the planned rules, which the Trump administration first announced in October 2017.
State - Injury - Injury - Exercise - A
“The State’s financial injury outweighs any purported injury to religious exercise...A nationwide injunction is necessary to provide the States complete relief,” Circuit Judge Patty Schwartz wrote in the court’s majority opinion.
Judge Haywood Gilliam of the U.S. District Court for Northern California had issued a preliminary injunction January 13 that affects 13 states plus the District of Columbia in the case State of California v. HHS.
Gillam - Injunction - Plaintiffs - Attorneys - States
However, Gillam declined to issue the nationwide injunction requested by the plaintiffs, the attorneys general of several states led by California.
U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone then issued a nationwide injunction blocking the same rule in her decision for the case Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump.
HHS - Friday - Decision - Supreme - Court
HHS is expected to appeal Friday’s decision to the Supreme Court.
The original contraception mandate, introduced during the Obama administration, had drawn lawsuits from hundreds of plaintiffs who argued that it failed to allow for their free exercise of religion. In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government must allow exceptions to the mandate in some cases. Last year, hundreds of employers won an injunction against the mandate.
Effort - HHS - Protecting - Statutory - Conscience
In a separate effort by HHS, the “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority rule”, announced May 2 and published May 21 in the Federal Register, is intended to strengthen a series of laws intended to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses.
The Department of Health and Human Services...
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