The Trump administration issued a rule change that would apparently provide religious liberty protections for religious organizations against the HHS contraception mandate.
A month ago, the Department of Justice raised eyebrows on the Right by continuing to pursue lawsuits defending the HHS contraception mandate, even though Donald Trump had campaigned against it. A week later, Trump signed an executive order with representatives of the Little Sisters of the Poor in attendance promising to protect religious liberty, but which had no legal impact at all on their legal fight for conscience rights. Today, however, the New York Times reports that the Trump administration has taken the first steps to eliminate the basis of the lawsuits and the infringement on religious liberty […]
It took four months for the Trump administration to take that first step, of course, and almost a month since the executive order, but at least the process is finally underway. Courts have repeatedly ruled that the HHS contraception mandate and its ill-considered conscience exemptions infringe on legitimate expressions of religion; the Supreme Court confirmed that in Hobby Lobby, and made it clear that the Obama administration needed to provide more robust and broad exemptions. They decided to stand pat instead, which should have made this a slam-dunk for a first-days action.