Attorney General’s Office Sues Over Trump Changes to Access to Contraceptives

By The Chronicle

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court to block the Trump Administration’s new rules “undermining” women’s access to contraception, according to a release from his office.

The Trump Administration’s new rules would allow any company to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptive services for female employees on religious grounds. Certain organizations would also be allowed to deny the coverage “on moral grounds,” according to the Attorney General’s Office. 

“If allowed to go forward, President Trump’s rules could have a significant impact on the more than 1.5 million Washington workers and their dependents who receive insurance through their employer’s self-funded plan,” states a press release from the Attorney General’s Office. “One study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year without insurance coverage.”

Women in Washington could turn to state-funded programs to receive the care they need, according to the Attorney General’s Office. State-funded reproductive health programs served more than 90,000 patients in 2016. 

“President Trump’s contraception rules are unfair, unlawful and unconstitutional,” Ferguson said in a statement. “I refuse to let President Trump disregard our laws and our constitution in an effort to deny women access to contraception.”

Ferguson’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and argues that the rules violated the Affordable Care Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

A release from the Attorney General’s Office also argues that the Trump Administration’s new directive violates the First Amendment of the Constitution by “requiring individuals to bear the burdens of religions to which they do not belong,” and violates the “equal protection guarantee” in the Fifth Amendment because it is a gender-based rule that will affect women disproportionately.