It Begins . . . California Sues Over HHS Mandate

CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra

The state of California is suing the Trump administration, claiming that it unlawfully discriminates against women in its decision to limit the onerous birth control mandate that formerly required religious employers to cover health care services that violate their beliefs.

The LA Times is reporting on the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Friday, before the ink was even dry on the announcement by the Trump Administration to provide a broader exemption for religious employers.

California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the same official who is suing David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress over videos of abortion industry executives allegedly trafficking in aborted baby parts, is seeking to block the change which he says jeopardizes the Affordable Care Act requirements to cover these services.

The lawsuit also alleges the rule change violates the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause because it allows employers to use religious beliefs as a right to discriminate against employees to deny them a federally entitled health benefit.

“Therefore, millions of women in California may be left without access to contraceptives and counseling and the state will be shouldering the additional fiscal and administrative burden as women seek access for this coverage through state-funded programs,” the lawsuit states.

Becerra has filed more than two dozen legal actions challenging policy changes by President Trump since the new president took office in January.

“Donald Trump wants businesses and corporations to control family planning decisions rather than a woman in consultation with her doctor,” Becerra said in a statement Friday. “These anti-women’s health regulations prove once again that the Trump Administration is willing to trample on people’s rights.”

However, those who were being forced to pay for services that violate their religious beliefs have an entirely different view of the president’s actions.

“For more than five years, the HHS contraception mandate has forced Americans to violate their deeply held moral and ethical principles, without regard for the Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty,” said EWTN CEO Michael Warsaw, whose organization sued the Obama administration over the original mandate.

“ . . . [W]e are optimistic that this news will prove to be a step toward victory for the fundamental freedoms of many Americans,” Warsaw said.

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