Court order blocking contraception exemptions upheld

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court order that blocked the Trump administration from enforcing rules that allow more employers to deny insurance coverage for contraceptives.

The three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled Friday. It said that state plaintiffs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were likely to succeed in proving that appropriate procedures weren’t followed and the regulations weren’t authorized under the health care overhaul.

The rules expanded exemptions on the basis of religious or moral objections to contraceptives. The states said that would cost them as women turned to state services.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorneys general hailed the nationwide ruling.

Department of Justice spokesperson Kelly Laco said officials were disappointed, adding that “religious organizations should not be forced to violate their deeply held beliefs.”

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