Pennsylvania sues Trump administration over birth control rollback

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The Trump administration has moved to undo health plan coverage of birth control pills and other forms of contraception.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday became the latest official to sue the Trump administration over its move to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate.

“Millions of women could be denied needed contraceptive care against the advice of science, public health and medical professionals,” Shapiro said during a news conference at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania’s clinic on Locust Street.

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires employer-sponsored health insurance plans to cover all forms of contraception with no copayment. The law allows a few exemptions for employers who claim religious or moral objections.

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive that would let many more employers, including colleges, universities, and health insurance companies, deny birth control coverage on moral grounds.

In response, the attorneys general of California, Washington, and Massachusetts filed suit.

Shapiro’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, echoes the other legal challenges. Among other claims, the lawsuit says the new rule is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state, and allows employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex. It also violates federal rules requiring the government to seek public input before changing policy.

Some conservative and religious groups have praised Trump’s action to roll back contraceptive benefits.

Dayle Steinberg, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, on Wednesday denounced it as yet another attempt by Trump to undo President Barack Obama’s signature health-care legislation.

“Attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, so now this shameful Trump administration is taking a back-door approach to limit access to basic health care,” Steinberg said. “We commend our state officials, Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for standing up to these attacks and protecting women in Pennsylvania.”