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Nevada joins Texas birth-control lawsuit

Updated May 24, 2019 - 3:53 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada is intervening in a Texas class-action lawsuit in an attempt to protect coverage for free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.

The motion was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In that case, four residents and a Texas health center have sued claiming that the ACA’s requirement to provide free contraception to women attacks their religious freedom, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

If the motion is granted, Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office would then help defend the health care law in the Texas case.

The Trump administration has chosen not to defend the ACA in challenges brought by Republican states, and has said it supports the full invalidation of the health care law.

“Nearly 400,000 Nevada women who receive private insurance coverage could be affected by this case,” Ford said in a statement. “The state of Nevada has stepped up before to defend Nevada’s interests before the courts on this issue. We now step in again to make sure our interests in preventive care are represented. I’m proud to lead this effort to protect women’s access to health care.”

Since 2011, under the ACA most employers have been required to include coverage for birth control in their health insurance plans offered to workers.

In 2017, Nevada codified those requirements into state law.

”Resolution of this case without Nevada’s intervention impedes Nevada’s ability to protect those interests,” the attorney general’s office said in the filing.

In 2017, the Trump administration put forth a rule change to the ACA that would have expanded exemptions. But before those rule changes could be implemented, federal judges in California and Pennsylvania blocked them from going into effect.

Ford signed onto a pair of amicus briefs supporting both lawsuits in California and Pennsylvania one day after taking office in January.

Ford, along with three other Democratic state attorneys general, in February also joined a lawsuit challenging a ruling from a Texas judge who declared the ACA unconstitutional.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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