Trump Administration Allowing Employers To Deny Women Insurance Coverage For Contraception Based On Religious Grounds
On Friday, the Trump administration announced their decision to allow employers the opportunity to deny women in their company the no-co-pay birth control they were receiving through Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage mandate. According to new rules put in place by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an exemption has been put in place for any employer to be able to refuse to cover contraception services if they have a sincere religious belief or moral conviction they believe would be impacted by doing so.
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It was one of two new rules, including another that allows organizations and small businesses to make decisions based on something that goes against their moral conviction, rolling back decades of nondiscrimination efforts. For example, per a report by the New York Times, that includes being able to fire an unmarried employee who gets pregnant, foster care programs being able to keep children from being placed with gay couples and even the Department of Veterans Affairs being able to refuse to process paperwork that would gives widows of a same-sex marriage benefits.
Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and many conservatives believe the move will keep people of faith from feeling as though they’re being targeted or discriminated against based on their important religious believes. However, other groups, including the many who have already started filing lawsuits like the American Civil Liberties Union and National Women’s Law Center, say that this is an attack on women and sure to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and others.
“Instead of fulfilling its mission ‘to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans,’ HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women’s health,” said the ACLU’s president, Dr. Haywood Brown, in a statement obtained by NBC News.
And Fatima Goss Graves who is president of the National Women’s Law Center said about both decisions that “The Trump administration is saying to employers, ‘If you want to discriminate, we have your back.'”
As far as the birth control mandate change, the NWLC said via a study in 2013 that the Obamacare mandate saved women $1.4 billion in birth control costs. Health and Human Services officials claim only 120,000 women would be affected by this rollback. But the impact is one we will have to wait and see about as the NWLC says more than 55 million are benefiting from birth control with zero co-pay currently.