Trump Administration Rolls Back Rules Mandating Free Birth Control Coverage For Women

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The Trump administration continues to roll back Obama-era regulations ending the birth control mandate for health care plans.

The Trump administration is gearing up to revoke federal mandates requiring employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

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

This could apply to the roughly 200 entities that have participated in about 50 lawsuits over birth control coverage, according to the agency, which said that "99.9% of women" who now receive birth control through the contraceptive mandate would not be affected.

Repealing the act was one of Trump's most strident campaign promises.

That fight has been the focus of many court hearings around the nation, and already has been in the U.S. Supreme Court five times. Those employers who objected to that coverage didn't provide it, and women had the choice to seek employment elsewhere or to pay for it themselves - and no one had any trouble finding it.

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.

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The Trump administration argues that women have affordable contraceptive options should employers drop coverage, and that several government programs provide free or subsidized contraception for low-income women, including Title X family planning grants. "Birth control is the key to our ability to stay healthy, take care of our planned families, and contribute to our communities and society - all things that this GOP apparently stands in opposition to".

Although women are entitled to coverage for birth control at no cost under the ACA, these rules will effectively deny thousands of women coverage based on the personal objections of their employers, universities, or insurers.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU said the interim rules violate the establishment clause regarding religion in the First Amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in the Constitution "by authorizing and promoting religiously motivated and other discrimination against women seeking reproductive health care".

Since taking office, the president has repeatedly taken steps to undermine the health care law.

An Oct. 6 statement by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said the new rule "corrects an anomalous failure by federal regulators that should never have occurred and should never be repeated". They created a workaround for those organizations: employers who objected to the coverage would notify the administration, which would then work directly with the insurance company to make sure the coverage was provided without the employer needing to be involved. Trump's rule does nothing to guarantee women seamless coverage.

Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have "moral convictions" against covering contraceptives.

According to the New York Times, the reversal also includes expanded exemptions for employers who say providing birth control coverage to employees conflicts with religious beliefs. Prior to the ACA, 20 percent of American women of reproductive age paid out of pocket for oral contraceptives, which decreased to less than 4 percent a few years after it became the law.

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