ABC News, December 15, 2017
Josh Cornfield and Sudhin Thanawala, AP

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A federal judge in Philadelphia on Friday ordered the Trump administration not to enforce new rules that could significantly reduce women's access to free birth control.

Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued the injunction, temporarily stopping the government from enforcing the policy change to former President Barack Obama's health care law.

The law required most companies to cover birth control at no additional cost, though it included exemptions for religious organizations and some private companies.

The new policy would allow more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing free contraception to women by claiming religious objections. It would allow any company that is not publicly traded to deny coverage on moral grounds.

Beetlestone, appointed to the bench by Obama, called the Trump administration's exemptions "sweeping" and said they are the "proverbial exception that swallows the rule."

She was particularly critical of the power to object on moral grounds, saying it "conjured up a world where a government entity is empowered to impose its own version of morality on each one of us. That cannot be right." [...]

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