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Pelosi calls birth control decision a 'new low'

07 October, 2017, 00:07 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • University of Arizona Center for Rural Health Navigators Maria Losoya gives people information and answers questions about health insurance in Tucson, Arizona U.S. REUTERS  Caitlin O'Hara

Trump administration's Friday ruling to allow more employers and insurers to choose not to cover birth control could affect almost 2 million N.C. women who have health insurance coverage of free birth control.

Employers and insurers that object to covering contraceptives based on religious beliefs and moral convictions can be exempt from the Obamacare requirement to cover contraceptives, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.

The Affordable Care Act deemed contraception an essential part of women's preventive health care for the first time in history, requiring that it be covered under most insurance plans, along with prenatal care, breast exams and well-woman visits.

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".

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit, saying the new rule promotes discrimination against women.

Repealing the act was one of Trump's most strident campaign promises. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court. 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.

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

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, "Donald Trump's latest dictate is a ideal execution of his passions: controlling women and robbing people of health care". 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.




President Donald Trump gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 4, 2017.

Women's health groups, including the National Women's Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union are expected to sue the Trump administration for eliminating the policy.

This decision arrives on the heels of the GOP's latest failed attempt to scrap the ACA altogether, the Graham-Cassidy bill, which had also promised to make it more hard for women to access birth control. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling that closely held private companies could seek an exemption on religious grounds, only a few dozen employers requested one from the Obama administration, POLITICO found past year.

The Trump administration today issued interim final rules which could restrict access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women. Should they follow the law, or follow their faith?

"Birth control is a medically necessary resource; it is indispensable for family planning, treating menstrual cramps, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and quite literally saves lives", said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, a leading women's advocacy organization. The exemptions would also include colleges and universities.

Now, employers with religious or moral objections to birth control will have the same exemption that was initially only available to houses of worship.

"There is no way to know how many women will be affected", said Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on health policy research and communications.

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