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ACLU files lawsuit against Trump administration over roll back of birth control mandate
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and other groups vowed to sue the Trump administration over regulations released Friday that would roll back ObamaCare's birth control mandate.
The rollback "basically gives broad license to employers to discriminate against their employees and withhold a benefit guaranteed by law," said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at the ACLU.
The Trump administration published a rule that allows any employer, including colleges, universities and health insurance companies, to stop offering birth control in their insurance plans on moral or religious grounds.
ObamaCare mandated that employers, with a few exceptions, offer health insurance that covers birth control without a co-pay.
The move could potentially impact millions of Americans who now receive birth control with no co-payments.
"We will challenge both rules as being blatantly unconstitutional. They both violate the separation of church and state and also discriminate against women by allowing employers to withhold a benefit that is guaranteed by law," Amiri said.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of ACLU members and Service Employee International Union-United Health Care Workers West, one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the Western United States.
The ACLU specifically argues that the rules violate the establishment clause and the equal protection clause of the Constitution by "authorizing and promoting religiously motivated and other discrimination against women seeking reproductive health care."
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the NWLC, said the NWLC planned to file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
"We will take immediate legal steps to block these unfair and discriminatory rules," she said.
"By taking away women's access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said he is prepared to "take all action, including legal action," to defend the mandate.
He said several of his attorney general colleagues are also considering filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) also said Friday she would sue the administration over the rules.
"My office has been vigilant when it comes to fighting for health care coverage and ensuring equality in the workplace. I will be suing the Trump administration today to stop this rule and defend critical protections for millions of women in Massachusetts and across the country," she said in a statement.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Americans United for Separation of Church and State said they will also file legal challenges to the rules.