Trump Ends ObamaCare Abortion and Contraceptive Mandate

A protester is detained and escorted out by U.S. Capitol Police during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the last-ditch GOP push to overhaul the nation's health care system
Conservatives & Trump Can Still Stop the Worst of Obamacare
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07 October, 2017

The Trump administration on Friday rolled back a requirement under the federal health care law that employers include birth-control coverage in their health insurance plans.

One of these new regulations would offer an exemption to any employer or insurer who does not want to make contraceptives available to women "based on its sincerely held religious beliefs", according to the Times.

Under the ACA, nearly all employers are required to offer health insurance to their employees that includes coverage of various forms of contraception, including birth control pills and intrauterine devices.

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.

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

After oral arguments in the case in March 2016, the Supreme Court, in a rare move in the middle of a case, directed both the government and the plaintiffs to submit briefs explaining if, and how, a conclusion could be reached providing the contraceptive coverage while at the same time respecting the religious freedom of the nonprofits.

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

- Planned Parenthood (@PPact)An estimated 574,000 women who use birth control didn't have coverage before mandate. The 2014 Hobby Lobby decision expanded exemptions to for-profit "closely held corporations".

On Friday, however, the Trump administration rescinded that regulation, allowing employers to exclude contraceptive care from insurance benefits for religious or moral reasons.

Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Medina) said in a statement that birth control is essential healthcare.

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For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children.

The Trump administration is allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious and moral objections.

A year after the birth control mandate went into effect, there was a 5% uptick in the number of women who filled prescriptions, the National Women's Law Center reports.

The conflict, of course, is that the rule forces religious employers who may find birth control - or just certain forms of it - morally objectionnable to pay for insurance coverage for it.

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".

DOJ legal briefs also argued that the expansive mandate was necessary to promote the equality of women in the business arena-which is not the goal of health insurance.

Fifty-five million women benefited from the Obama-era rule, which made companies provide free birth control.

Advocates for religious groups called the rule a major step forward after years of fighting the requirement.

Becket and other law firms representing employers with religious objections to birth control say they will continue to await a final injunction from the courts, since even the new rules aren't set in stone.


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