UPDATED 6:36 AM PT — Monday, January 14, 2018
There has been a major blow to the Trump administration in its fight for religious freedom. On Sunday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the White House’s rules, which allowed more employers to opt out of providing free birth control to their employees for religious or moral reasons.
It was one of the president’s campaign promises, and a goal his administration has focused on since taking office.
“The president believes one’s right to practice one’s faith is a fundamental right in this country,” stated Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The rule was set to take effect today, but a dozen states and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit. The suit is claiming the rule would lead to a significant number of women losing birth control coverage.
This comes more than a year after President Trump signed an executive order to protect religious freedoms, and to give faith-based organizations a bigger voice in the government.
“Under my administration, free speech does not end at the steps of a cathedral or a synagogue or any other house of worship,” stated President Trump. “We are giving our churches their voices back, we are giving them back in the highest form — with this executive order, we also make clear that the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.”
While many of the policies under this executive order are still in place, the status of the birth control mandate will continue to be debated in court.