Leaked Draft Exposes Trump's Plan to Let Each Woman's Boss Decide Her Birth Control Coverage
By Miriam Berg | June 2, 2017, 1:58 p.m.
Category: Birth Control, Health Care Equity
Remember Hobby Lobby? It’s like that, but worse.
Simply unacceptable: A leaked draft of a new rule shows that the Trump administration is planning to hand bosses and universities the power to deny their workers access to birth control coverage.
It should go without saying that birth control is basic health care. Birth control is essential for women’s health and lives, and getting it should never be their employer’s decision.
Nobody should lose access to essential care at the whim of their boss or university. Here’s what you need to know so that you can get ready to fight back.
What the Rule Would Do
With this draft rule (which was leaked yesterday), the federal government looks poised to put individual bosses’ and school administrators’ personal beliefs over the health and rights of their staff and students. If the rule gets enacted as it’s written in the draft, it would take away protections that President Obama specifically put in place under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure each woman can get no-copay birth control regardless of where she works or goes to school.
The rule, as it stands, would allow employers and schools to opt out of providing health insurance that covers birth control if they have “religious beliefs or moral convictions” against contraception.
And, yes: It’s just as bad as it sounds.
The Impact on Women
The new rule’s potential for harm is so great in part because we’ve made so much progress in increasing access to birth control.
Under the Affordable Care Act:
More than 55 million women now have access to no-copay birth control and preventive care.
Women saved an estimated $1.4 billion per year from birth control pill alone.
Fewer than 4% of American women had to pay out of pocket for the pill (down from over 20% before the ACA).
Now, every one of the 55+ million women who gained access to no-copay birth control under Obamacare could have it taken away if her boss has personal beliefs against it.
Trump's rule would bring those women with anti-birth control bosses and schools back to the days of paying up to $600 a month out-of-pocket for the pill. That’s something many women cannot afford: At some point in their lives, one-third of all women couldn't afford birth control enough to use it consistently.
The Broader Context
This direct attack on birth control access is troubling enough on its own. But it paints a terrifying picture of the future of reproductive care in this country when you view it along with lawmakers’ attempts to repeal the ACA; “defund” Planned Parenthood; gut maternity care; and put new burdens on women seeking safe, legal abortion.
It’s obvious: They’re coming after no-copay birth control. They’re coming after Planned Parenthood, one of the largest birth control providers in the country. They're coming after Title X, the nation's family planning program. And they’ve made no secret that your health care is on the chopping block.
If President Trump wants to keep dragging us back, he better be prepared to answer to millions of women across America.
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Tags: Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, ACA, AHCA, Trumpcare, religious freedom, RFRA