Federal judge throws out Massachusetts challenge to Trump birth control rules

Federal judge throws out Massachusetts challenge to Trump birth control rules
© Greg Nash

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general challenging the Trump administration's rollback of ObamaCare's birth control requirements. 

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the state lacks standing to sue because it already requires that employer health plans cover contraception regardless of changes in federal policy.

The Trump administration in October issued a rule allowing for-profit and nonprofit employers and insurers to stop covering birth control if they had moral or religious objections.


Massachusetts was one of several states that sued over the changes.

Judges in California and Pennsylvania issued preliminary injunctions blocking the administration from enforcing the changes in December. 

But Gorton said while there is no doubt employers in those states would take advantage of the new exceptions, "the record is uniquely obscure" as to whether any in Massachusetts would. 

ObamaCare mandated that employers offer health insurance that covers birth control without a co-pay, with exemptions for houses of worship and some companies. The Trump administration's rule significantly broadened those exemptions.

Anti-abortion groups and Republicans praised the administration's changes to the mandate, arguing that it imposed on the rights of employers like Catholic hospitals and charities.

The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group based in D.C., called the Massachusetts decision "another win for the most Pro Life administration in history."