Trump administration relaxes requirement that employers provide birth control in workers' insurance

Trump administration relaxes requirement that employers provide birth control in workers' insurance

Trump administration relaxes requirement that employers provide birth control in workers' insurance

The Obamacare provision required almost all employers to include a wide range of birth control methods in their healthcare plans, ensuring 55 million American women-according to the National Women's Law Center-had access to birth control and other preventive services without out-of-pocket costs. The birth control mandate compelled for-profit employers to cover the full range of contraceptives, including the pill, the intrauterine device and the Plan B morning-after pill, at no out-of-pocket cost to women, while carving out exemptions for churches and nonprofit religious organizations.

The Trump administration has legal reasons for issuing two rules, one for religious objections and one for moral objections.

Legal challenges to the change in rules have already begun, including with a lawsuit filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

As a result of the ACA, most women no longer pay for contraceptives.

Trump's anti-abortion campaign promises appeared close to fulfillment in May, when he appointed a "birth control czar" that was a former lobbyist with the National Right to Live Committee and a legislative analyst for the Family Research Council, the Washington Post reported at the time. Under the Justice Department guidelines, this could expand to allowing employers to hire in accordance with their religious beliefs and prohibit denying federal contracts to entities based on religious beliefs. She says Republicans, including House GOP lawmakers, have launched a "sickening attack" on women's health.

More than 55 million women have access to birth control without copayments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. In listing health risks the administration said can be associated with the use of contraceptives, it says the mandate could promote "risky sexual behavior" among some teenagers and young adults.

"By taking away women's access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women", Graves added.

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At a time when Trump finds himself embattled on many fronts, the two directives - issued nearly simultaneously on Friday - demonstrated the president's eagerness to retain the loyalty of social conservatives who make up a key part of his base.

The Supreme Court earlier had held in the Hobby Lobby case that closely held corporations could hold religious beliefs that exempted them from the mandate.

In May, Trump signed a decree on religious liberty ordering his administration to take account of objections of conscience on matters of contraception.

The Trump administration today issued interim final rules which could restrict access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women. The new rule, he said, provides "relief to those who have been under the thumb of the federal government".

"HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women's health", said the organization's president, Dr. Haywood Brown.

The new exemptions will be available to colleges and universities that provide health insurance to students as well as employees. "The private medical decisions made by an employee are not the business of their employer", the group said. A number of religiously affiliated schools have filed lawsuits challenging the mandate.

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