New Rule Permits All Employers to Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage
West Palm Beach, FL – The Trump administration has taken direct aim at birth control coverage for more than 62 million American women, eliminating the guarantee they had for coverage for birth control regardless of who they work for. On Friday morning, they announced a sweeping new rule to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all insurance plans must cover birth control without a co-pay or otherwise ensure access to birth control coverage for women whose employers or schools can legally opt out of providing coverage.
Statement from Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates:
“Let’s be clear: this rule has nothing to do with religion. The ruling by the Trump administration is an unacceptable attack on basic health care that the vast majority of women rely on. Now any employer can decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control.
The ability to decide whether and when you want to have children is a fundamental right that affects us all. We cannot allow President Trump to roll back the progress women have made over the past century.”
The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that includes s birth control as preventive health care — requiring health insurance plans cover birth control without a copay. The Obama administration later worked out an accommodation allowing religious-affiliated employers and schools to refuse to cover birth control on religious grounds, while ensuring their employees would still have health coverage provided directly by the health insurance company.
The rule proposed by the Trump administration today would change that, allowing any employer (nonprofit, small business, large corporation, private or publicly-held), school, or other entity to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage for religious or moral reasons -- a standard unprecedented in its vagueness. It also eliminates the guarantee that women will continue to receive coverage for birth control regardless of their employer’s beliefs by making the accommodation voluntary.
The rule will go into effect immediately, with a comment period ending on December 5.
BACKGROUND ON BIRTH CONTROL:
FACT: The Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills in its first year alone. Thanks to this benefit, more than 62 million women now have access to birth control without copayments.
FACT: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision took effect, fewer than 4 percent of American women had to pay out of pocket for oral birth control. That number was more than 20 percent before the law’s passage.
FACT: A 2010 Hart Research poll, conducted before the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision went into effect, found that one in three women voters had struggled to afford prescription birth controls, including 57 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.
FACT: The rule comes just weeks after the Senate rejected deeply unpopular attempts to pass Graham-Cassidy, the latest version of Trumpcare, which would have eliminated the requirement that health insurance cover birth control.
FACT: According to recent FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, most companies already getting Obamacare birth control waivers aren't even religious groups. Vox reports that in fact, over half of the groups who applied for and received exemptions were for-profit companies and corporations.
FACT: 86 percent of Americans (including 91% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans) support policies that make it easier to get the full range of birth control methods.
FACT: Access to birth control can help reduce maternal and event infant mortality. In 1965, at the time of the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that provided the first constitutional protection for birth control, 32 women were dying for every 100,000 live births in America. Today, the rate is less than half that. Infant mortality has fallen even faster – from 25 deaths to six deaths per 1,000 live births.
FACT: Women use birth control for a variety of reasons — in fact, 58 percent of all women who use the pill rely on it, at least in part, for something other than pregnancy prevention, including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome — which is prevalent among women of color — fibroids, and menstrual regulation.
FACT: In 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek also ranked the invention of the pill is one of the top 10 most transformative moments in the business sector over the last 85 years. Access to birth control has not just opened up educational and career opportunities for women, but it has catapulted women into more management roles. In fact, a study showed that the pill is responsible for one-third of women’s wage gains relative to men since the 1960s.
Please visit www.fappa.org for more information.