CHICAGO – Although Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will be relieved of duty Monday shortly after noon, the impact her participation in a multi-state lawsuit to force employers to provide free birth control services to their employees will continue.
Sunday, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam temporarily blocked Trump administration rules allowing employers to refuse to provide free birth control from taking effect Monday in 13 states – and because Madigan signed onto the lawsuit, Illinois is one of the states to which the ruling applies.
While plaintiffs argued employers should not interfere with women's healthcare, they insisted employers should be forced to provide free health insurance coverage for employees that includes birth control – some methods of which they say can cause abortions.
According to NBC.com, Judge Gilliam found
…there are "serious questions" about whether the new rules violate President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which stipulated that employer insurance plans must provide birth control services at no cost. Under current law, only explicitly religious organizations may opt out, as long as they could demonstrate a religious objection.
The U.S. Justice Department argued that the Affordable Care Act gave federal agencies the authority to exempt anyone they wish from the contraceptive mandate, but Gilliam found that the act provides no such authority and that the administration was claiming "unbridled discretion" to exempt "anyone they see fit."
"The law couldn't be clearer — employers have no business interfering in women's healthcare decisions,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the effort to overturn the rules, said in a statement.
"Today's court ruling stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care," he said.