Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

The Trump administration today rolled back regulations set by an Obama-era mandate requiring employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

That means certain employers are now exempt from providing free birth control coverage to women in their health care plans, provided their objections are based on "sincerely held religious beliefs" or have "moral convictions" against it.

The share of women employees paying for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, since contraception became a covered preventive health benefit, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement, "Today President Trump delivered a huge victory for conscience rights and religious liberty in America". He also said the new rule is open for comments for a 90-day period and will likely face legal challenges, which already began in a lawsuit filed October 6 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of members of the ACLU and Service Employee International Union-United Health Care Workers West who say they are at risk of losing their contraception coverage because of where they work or attend school. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The lawsuit is challenging the Trump administration's move on the basis of the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, according to the press release.

"This will leave countless women without the critical birth control coverage they need to protect their health and economic security".

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, deciding that closely-held, for-profit companies could stop providing coverage.

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Despite Donald Trump's promise to create a "beautiful" healthcare system for all Americans, a new report shows that he's using the federal government to do just the opposite. The National Women's Law Center - which estimates that in 2013 alone, the contraception requirement saved women $1.4 billion in oral contraceptive costs - has vowed to challenge the administration in court.

"Donald Trump's latest dictate is a ideal execution of his passions: controlling women and robbing people of healthcare".

The Trump administration's draft regulation would allow any employer to request an exemption based on moral or religious objections. About 55 million women have directly benefited from no-cost birth control, according to an Obama administration report released previous year.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the new rules Friday.

"The Trump administration is forcing women to pay for their boss's religious beliefs", said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri in a statement. All women should have the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to something as personal as contraception and reproductive health. "With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control", Richards added. The rules expand the types of entities that can claim moral or religious exemptions to the so-called birth control mandate. She says the new rule is a tool for discrimination against women.

The act included a loophole for churches and other religious employers to opt out of that requirement, in which case the government arranged the coverage directly with the employer's insurance company without employer involvement.

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