Trump’s ‘revised’ birth control religious exemption will remain insidious

1ffrf sanger-quote 610x310UPDATE

After losing in two federal courts, the Trump administration is back at the drawing board on a new strategy to undermine women’s access to basic healthcare.

It was announced this week that administration officials are revising rules— blocked from taking effect last year by two federal judges — that allow employers to claim a “religious objection” to their obligation to provide employees insurance coverage for contraceptives as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. As recently as Monday, the Trump administration mischaracterized this as “nuns ordered to pay for contraceptives.” 

Under the ACA, employers are generally required to provide insurance coverage for preventive care, including contraceptives. The Trump administration’s first attempts to expand exemptions from this mandate began in 2017, and were quickly blocked in two federal courts.

While the details of the forthcoming changes remain unclear, the Administration reportedly hopes they will “overcome the judge’s objections without fundamentally altering the purpose or the effects of the rules.”

FFRF fervently condemns the Trump administration’s continued use of religious dogma to subjugate women and the Justice Department’s callous, patriarchal claim that “a woman who loses coverage of her chosen contraceptive method through her employer may still have access to such coverage through a spouse’s plan. Or she may otherwise be able to pay out of pocket for contraceptive services.”

The contraceptive mandate has given more than 55 million women access to birth control without additional co-payments. Under these new regulations, hundreds of thousands could lose that coverage. The assumption that women can rely on a spouse’s plan for basic healthcare is an affront to individual liberties, and rolling back protections disproportionately impacts already disenfranchised women.

"As it has for millennia, religion is being used to oppress women," notes FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Employers have no business sticking their noses into intimate health decisions by female workers. It's outrageous."

Whenever these changes are made public, we can expect them to be as unlawful as the original rules put in place by the administration a year ago. FFRF will continue to staunchly support a woman’s right to comprehensive and quality health care free from the imposition of her employer’s religious beliefs.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 32,000 members across the country and in every state. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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