Trump Administration Moves to Roll Back Access to Birth Control

This week, a leaked rule appeared to unveil the Trump administration's intent to significantly roll back access to birth control through the Affordable Care Act. 

This rule comes as the Senate considers the American Health Care Act - the worst legislation for women's health in a generation. If passed, the AHCA would block millions of Medicaid patients from coming to Planned Parenthood for health care, kick 23 million people off of their health insurance, undermine maternity coverage and cause premiums for women to skyrocket. 

Statement from Mary Nolan, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon: 

"This rule would mean no matter where she works, from private universities to huge, publicly traded companies, any woman across the country could be denied insurance coverage for birth control based on whether her employer objects to it. Plain and simple, a woman's most basic and personal of decisions -- when and if to have a child - could now be impacted by her boss. 

"It's no coincidence that this rule comes as an all-male panel of Senators meets behind closed doors to determine the future of women's health care in America. Women's health and lives have been directly in the crosshairs since day one of this administration. It is abhorrent that this administration would directly attack birth control - something that the vast majority of women rely on. This is not about religious liberty - this is about restricting women's access to basic health care. Out-of-pocket costs for birth control can run hundreds of dollars - extra money that many women simply don't have. Birth control is essential for women's health and lives, and should never be a decision made by a woman's employer." 


The rule, if issued in the leaked format, will allow any employer or school (nonprofit or for-profit) to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, for religious or moral reasons. It also allows insurers to opt out of providing coverage, on the basis of any religious or moral objection, and for the first time would allow individuals to request their health insurance companies not cover birth control. The rule does maintain the accommodation worked out by the Obama administration as a voluntary option, presumably for employers who want to provide coverage but don't want to pay for it. The birth control accommodation put into place by the Obama administration ensured that employers and schools could not impose their religious views on others, by providing women access to no-copay birth control regardless of their employers' or schools' objection to birth control. 

The rule would go into effect immediately, with a 60-day comment period. 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after the Affordable Care Act's birth control provision took effect, fewer than 4 percent of American women had to pay out of pocket for oral birth control. That number was more than 20 percent before the law's passage.

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