A federal judge in California has thrown a wrench into a plan by the Trump administration to allow employers to refuse women's birth control coverage.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam on Sunday (January 13) partially blocked a set of rules allowing businesses and nonprofits to opt out of contraceptive coverage on moral or religious grounds.
The rules are set to go into effect Monday (January 14).
But thirteen states plus Washington D.C.
Have asked for a nation-wide injunction to keep them from taking effect while they press a legal challenge in court.
Judge Gilliam ordered an injunction but limited it to those states challenging the rules.
He hasn't reached a final decision in the case.
But he said the rules likely violated federal law.
He also said loosening contraceptive rules would end up costing states, which would be on the hook for additional birth control coverage and healthcare for unintended pregnancies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, only religious houses of worship got exemptions.
The Trump administration rules broadened that and added "moral conviction" as a basis for opting out of birth control coverage - a move supported by some Christian activists and Republicans in Congress.
California's attorney general, who is leading the challenge, praised Sunday's ruling, saying it "stops another attempt by the Trump Administration to trample on women's access to basic reproductive care."