As previously reported, last week the Trump Administration issued interim final rules expanding religious and conscience exemptions from the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate. The ACLU immediately filed suit challenging the new rules. Now the state of Washington has also filed suit challenging the expanded exemptions. The complaint (full text) in State of Washington v. Trump, (WD WA, filed 10/9/2017), contends in part that the rules violate the Establishment Clause:The Religious IFRs [Interim Final Rules] and the corresponding portion of the 2017 Updated Guidelines are intended to and have the effect of advancing, imposing, and endorsing certain religious interests. For example, they permit a for-profit business to impose the costs of its owners’ anti-contraception beliefs on employees (and their dependents). Based on the religious beliefs of an employer or institution of higher education, the Religious IFRs deny women access to contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure.The suit also alleges that the rules violate the equal protection component of the 5th Amendment and violate the Administrative Procedure Act. Washington AG Bob Ferguson issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.
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