Court blocks changes to contraceptive mandate

 A federal judge ruled on that Bartell Drug Co., which operates 50 drug stores in the Seattle region must pay for prescription contraceptives, like the birth control pills shown here, for its female employees. The class-action suit was brought against Bartell Drug Co. by Jennifer Erickson, a 27 year-old pharmacist with the company, and may lead employers across the country to do the same. (Photo by Tim Matsui/Getty Images)

(CNN)A federal court in California Thursday blocked rules issued by the Trump administration that expanded the rights of employers to cite religious or moral objections in order to deny contraceptive insurance coverage.

In a suit brought by California, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New York, the US District Court in Northern California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the interim rules and the rollback of the contraceptive mandate.
The Justice Department says it disagrees with the ruling and is evaluating its next steps. "This administration is committed to defending the religious liberty of all Americans and we look forward to doing so in court," spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said.
Following a similar ruling in a Pennsylvania case, the ACLU's deputy legal director Louise Melling said: "The courts are validating what we have known to be true -- that these rules are unlawful. They authorize employers to impose their religion on others, leaving women without coverage for basic preventive health care that is essential to their equality."