Trump Administration Guts Women's Access to Birth Control
00:11, Oct 7, 2017
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With some women who lose the ACA's contraceptive coverage, "it means choosing between preventive care like contraceptives and paying their rent, their mortgage, electric bill", said Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center.
Millions of women who now receive birth control with no co-payments could be affected by the move. As for allowing employers to refuse coverage on moral and religious convictions, "these two things in general should not interfere with what you allow your employees to access", she says. "Not only does it help women plan their families - it's also used by thousands of women to treat serious medical conditions, like endometriosis and ovarian cysts".
The change allows companies and insurers to opt out of the free coverage "based on [their] sincerely held religious beliefs".
The latest announcement builds upon an executive order in May claiming "to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty" by providing "regulatory relief" for organizations that object on religious grounds to Obamacare coverage requirements for certain health services, including contraception.
"We should have space for organisations to live out their religious ideas and not face discrimination because of their religious ideas", said one HHS official, who did not wish to be named. That and being incomprehensible, dangerously dumb, and infuriatingly the President at all times.
National pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List President Marjoria Dannenfelser said, "Today President Trump delivered a huge victory for conscience rights and religious liberty in America". In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacient drugs be included in health plans.
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. "Coming on the heels of the abortion ban and the failure to reauthorize CHIP this week, this action by the Trump administration reminds us that the anti-choice GOP is trying to impose a radical worldview on the country".
Experts have pointed out that many women use birth control methods for more than pregnancy prevention, including treatment of hormonal imbalances and endometriosis.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is now considering all legal action to ensure women can get the health care they need, free from discrimination.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the new policy could reverse progress in lowering the nation's rate of unintended pregnancies. 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.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards slammed the decision. She lamented Trump's action given how vocal and mobilized women have been since his election.
The new interim final rules - one regarding religious objections to birth control and the other, moral qualms - seek to end years of legal wrangling, which pitted the federal government against religious business owners, faith-based schools and charities, Catholic nuns and a number of other conscientious objectors to contraception.
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