(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women’s birth control.
U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of rules the administration announced in October that allowed businesses or non-profits to obtain exemptions on moral or religious grounds.
Beetlestone wrote that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who sued to block the rules, was likely to succeed in establishing that the administration did not follow proper notice procedures when issuing the new rules.
The judge said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury had also through the new rules “interpreted the statute in a manner inconsistent with its text.”
HHS and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is among several that Democratic state attorneys general have filed after the Republican Trump administration revealed the new rules on Oct. 6.
The rules targeted the contraceptive mandate that was implemented as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The rules will let businesses or nonprofit organizations lodge religious or moral objections to obtain an exemption from the law’s mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance with no co-payment.
Conservative Christian activists and congressional Republicans praised the move, while reproductive rights advocates and Democrats criticized it.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Leslie Adler