FFRF deplores Trump administration's latest assault on birth control

The Freedom From Religion Foundation denounces the Trump administration’s most recent attack on birth control.

The Trump administration wasted no time in announcing the day after the midterm elections that it would publish final rules to allow employers to deny their employees access to basic reproductive health care. Those two final rules will significantly expand dangerous exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. 

The newly announced rules will be published in the federal register tomorrow and will be effective 60 days later. However, the rules’ implementation will likely be immediately contested by the state attorneys general in California and Pennsylvania, who challenged last year’s version of the rules.

FFRF 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.”

Recently, the Trump administration yet again mischaracterized employers’ obligation under the ACA to provide employees insurance coverage for contraceptives, as “nuns ordered to pay for contraceptives.” Trump’s goal is to allow employers to claim a religious exemption, to providing contraceptive coverage and thereby shirk their legal duty.

The administration attempted to ram these rules through outside the usual rule-making channels in 2017, but failed. Two federal courts concluded that the proposed rules were of “remarkable breadth” and violated the Affordable Care Act. The new rules are substantially identical to the 2017 interim rules and will certainly face the same challenges — and likely will suffer the same fate in court.

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 health care is an affront to individual liberties. And rolling back protections disproportionately impacts already disenfranchised women.

"This attempt to push through legally defective rules shows how committed this administration is to denying women’s health coverage in the name of religion," notes FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "This is far from the first religiously motivated assault on women’s health care, and it will not be the last."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national organization that protects the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and educates the public on matters relating to nontheism. 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, 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.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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