A federal judge has dismissed a Massachusetts lawsuit that aimed to obstruct the Trump administration’s decision to grant exemptions to Obamacare’s contraception mandate for employers with religious or moral issues with the directive.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected the lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who argued she had standing to sue the administration since women in her state would be injured by the Trump administration’s new rules.
Gorton said that, in Massachusetts, “the record is uniquely obscure” whether women in that state would attempt to take advantage of the exemptions. The judge observed that, following the Trump administration’s announcement of its exemptions last October, Massachusetts enacted the ACCESS Act requiring employers to provide free contraception to workers.
His ruling comes following preliminary injunctions issued by two judges in California and Pennsylvania that blocked the Trump administration’s order allowing religious exemptions to the Obamacare rule that mandated most employers to provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs to workers through health insurance plans.
“We are pleased with the court’s order, which found that Massachusetts failed to provide the necessary facts to support its claim of harm they alleged was a result of the agencies’ rules,” a U.S. Department of Justice official said in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “In these cases and others, the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend religious liberty.”
According to Reuters, Healey, a Democrat, said in a statement she was “disappointed” in Gorton’s decision.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring affordable and reliable reproductive health care for women,” she said. “We will continue to fight for these protections.”
Upon announcing the end of the Obamacare rule, a senior Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official said Americans with religious beliefs and moral convictions would now have full protection while those employers with no objections would still be subject to providing free birth control, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs for their workers.
The mandate was inserted into Obamacare by former HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius—an abortion activist—and bureaucrats in her department. Following objections by many religious employers to the requirements of the mandate, the Obama administration devised “accommodations” that only gave the appearance the religious groups would not be either footing the bill for, or passively approving of, the federal government’s mandate of the offensive contraceptive drugs and sterilization procedures.
Planned Parenthood—which benefits financially from wider distribution of contraceptives—NARAL, and other feminist groups have attempted to portray Trump and other Republicans as intent on taking away women’s birth control by reversing the mandate. The Obama administration itself, however, actually exempted at least 25 million Americans, through various exemption allowances, from its own rule.
The case is Massachusetts v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, No. 17-cv-11930 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.