- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Center for Reproductive Rights is filing a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court against the Trump administration’s new rule exempting employers from paying for employees’ contraceptives based on religious objections, arguing it’s a violation of women’s constitutional right to liberty in accessing birth control.

The Health and Human Services Department announced Friday that any employer who asserts a good-faith religious objection to paying for contraceptives through their insurance plans be exempt from Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, which has sparked new court battles.

Unlike the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) lawsuit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the new exemption, the Center for Reproductive Rights is making an additional claim that the government’s rule violates a woman’s access to contraception under the fundamental right to liberty in the U.S. Constitution.

“The Supreme Court has recognized for decades now that a woman’s right to decide whether and when to have children is strongly protected under the U.S. Constitution and these rules significantly impair a woman’s right to access contraception,” said Autumn Katz, a senior attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Both the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights argue in their separate lawsuits that the administration’s new rule violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). They say the administration didn’t engage in notice and comment before issuing its final rule in accordance with the APA, and it didn’t observe a 30-day period between publishing the rule and its effective date.

The lawsuits also allege the Trump administration’s rule violates the Equal Protection Clause because it singles out women for disfavored treatment and violates the Establishment Clause by promoting religious beliefs over employees who may not share the same faith.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to issue a permanent injunction against the new rule.

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