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SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that a diverse group of states, local governments, healthcare providers, civil rights organizations, reproductive rights advocates, businesses, law scholars, and labor unions filed twelve amicus briefs in support of California’s nationwide preliminary injunction in State of California, et al v. Alex Azar, II, et al. The preliminary injunction successfully blocked the Trump-Pence Administration’s rules that threaten access to cost-free birth control for employees and their eligible dependents as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Millions of women across the country benefit from access to cost-free birth control provided by the Affordable Care Act. The federal government should build on this access to healthcare, not diminish it,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump-Pence Administration wants to take us back to the bad old days when politicians routinely inserted themselves between a woman and her doctor. The amicus briefs filed show a diverse coalition of support for a woman’s right to basic healthcare including birth control. At the California Department of Justice, we stand ready to protect women’s rights and access to affordable healthcare.”
The Trump-Pence Administration issued its illegal birth control rules on October 6, 2017, and made them effective immediately without any transparency or input from the public. The rules allowed virtually any employer to deny women the cost-free birth control guaranteed by the ACA. To date, 62.4 million women have benefited from that ACA provision, including 13 million women in California, saving $1.4 billion since 2012.
Immediately following the Trump-Pence Administration’s announcement, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the federal government’s contraceptive rules. In November, Attorney General Becerra filed a petition for a nationwide injunction to halt the rules, which he successfully obtained in December 2017. Joining Attorney General Becerra in seeking the nationwide injunction were the Attorneys General of Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. The federal court granted the injunction, claiming the federal government failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act, which all federal agencies must abide by when issuing rules.
On May 21, 2018, the Attorneys General responded to the federal government’s appeal of California’s preliminary injunction before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Amicus briefs were filed by:
• Women’s healthcare providers, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Health Law Program;
• Civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Urban League, Anti-Defamation League; Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law;
• Sixteen states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington;
• Seventeen cities, counties, and local agencies;
• Businesses, including the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Female Executives;
• Administrative Law Scholars;
• Americans United for Separation of Church and State;
• Medical practitioners, including American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nursing, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Physicians for Reproductive Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Medical Association;
• Reproductive justice groups, including the National Women’s Law Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, SisterLove; and
• Other groups that would be impacted: the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, American Association of University Women, SEIU, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, National Association of Women Lawyers, Girls Inc, National Association of Social Workers, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, California Women Lawyers, Women’s Bar Association of New York, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Colorado Women’s Bar Association, Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, Women Lawyers on Gu!ard.