Attorney General Ferguson sues to block Trump administration rules over contraception access

SEATTLE — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in federal court today to block the Trump Administration's new rules concerning women's access to contraception.

The proposed rules would allow any company to deny coverage for contraceptive services to female employees based on religious grounds. Other types of organizations would also be able to deny coverage on moral grounds.

If approved, President Trump's rules could impact the more that 1.5 million Washington workers, and their dependents, who receive insurance through an employer's self-funded plan. A study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year for individuals without insurance coverage.

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Some Washington women who currently use contraception could be denied no-cost coverage, and would likely turn to state-funded programs to receive the same care. State-funded reproductive health services helped more than 90,000 patients in 2016, and more than three-quarters of those patients were women who used contraception. A report from the Washington State Department of Health found that the women who used contraception saved an estimated $160 million in maternal and birth-related costs.

“President Trump’s contraception rules are unfair, unlawful, and unconstitutional,” said Ferguson. “I refuse to let President Trump disregard our laws and our constitution in an effort to deny women access to contraception.”

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that the new rules violate the U.S. Constitution, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Civil Rights Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.