WA Attorney General sues Trump administration over birth control decision
PASCO, Wash. —Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed another lawsuit against the Trump administration Monday.
This comes after the White House announced plans to roll back part of the Affordable Care Act requiring the coverage of birth control on Friday.
With this expansion, more employers and insurers can claim their religious or moral beliefs in order to opt out of covering no-cost birth control for employees.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said as long as Donald Trump is President, he'll protect religious freedom,
"The president believes that the freedom to practice ones faith is a fundamental right in this country and I think all of us do. And that's all that today was about, our federal government should always protect that right."
Ferguson told Action News he takes each lawsuit he files on behalf of the state very seriously, and this one's no different.
He said the Trump administration is taking things too far, breaking both Federal and Consitutional laws,
"We can believe what we want to believe in our home and through our church. But I can't impose my beliefs on somebody else. That adversely affects them. And that's what's going on here of course if employers are allowed, because of religious belief, to deny access to contraception to their female employees."
He said regardless of his personal feelings on the matter, the new exemption is illegal,
"Women have access through their health insurance just like men do, you can't start targeting women and saying you don't get access to certain healthcare coverage because I'm religiously opposed to what you're doing in your personal life."
Ferguson said freedom of religion has always been central to us as a country, but it crosses the line when it imposes a burden on someone of a different belief structure.
He says this burden will disproportionately affect women,
"I'm not impacted by this. My male colleagues aren't impacted by this. But women certainly are."
This is one of the many reasons he said he thinks his team has the legal upper-hand,
"We do think what he did is actually unconstitutional and illegal and that's why we're taking this action."
Ferguson said the State of Washington isn't going it alone, both Massachusetts and California have filed similar lawsuits.
Action News attempted to contact both Representatives Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers for their reaction to the lawsuit but neither were available for comment.