The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Thursday to reduce the scope of a nationwide preliminary injunction that had prevented the Trump Administration from enforcing rules that exempted employers from the contraceptive care requirement of the Affordable Care Act based on religious and moral grounds.
The court agreed with the district court’s finding that the Departments of Health and Human Services, the Treasury and Labor had failed to pursue a necessary notice and comment process before implementing the new rules, as is required by the Administrative Procedure Act. It, however, held that the extent of the evidence of harm did not warrant a nationwide injunction:
On the present record, an injunction that applies only to the plaintiff states would provide complete relief to them. It would prevent the economic harm extensively detailed in the record. Indeed, while the record before the district court was voluminous on the harm to the plaintiffs, it was not developed as to the economic impact on other states.
Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit narrowed the order, making it apply to only the five states that filed the lawsuit: California, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and New York.
Yesterday’s ruling aside, another nationwide injunction issued by a federal judge in Philadelphia still stands while the case awaits a decision from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
This case is one of many filed against the new contraceptive exemption rules.