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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 7, 2018                                       
Contact: Planned Parenthood media office, [email protected]; 212-261-4433

Day After Resounding Electoral Loss, Trump Introduces “Secret” Abortion Plan: Rule to Make it Nearly Impossible for Health Insurance Plans in the Affordable Care Act to Cover Abortion  

Comes as Trump-Pence Administration Issues Final Rule Illegally Restricting Insurance Coverage For Birth Control 

American People are Now Looking to Newly-Elected Congress to Defend Against Attacks 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Trump-Pence administration took direct aim at birth control and abortion coverage, issuing new rules to restrict coverage for both, in direct defiance of the sweeping electoral victories that champions of reproductive health and rights saw yesterday in Congress and statehouses across the country. The American people are now looking to Congress to defend against attacks on birth control and abortion coverage.   

Earlier today in a press conference, President Trump bizarrely referenced a “secret plan” regarding abortion in this country. A few moments ago, the reference became clear, when the Trump-Pence administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule designed to make it nearly impossible for health insurance plans that are a part of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance Marketplaces to cover abortion. This move would mean that at least 1.3 million consumers could lose their current coverage for abortion. 

The move came as the administration also issued two final rules on birth control — bypassing two federal courts that blocked two interim final rules that were released in October 2017. The birth control measures allow employers, universities and any entity that provides health insurance coverage to deny a person birth control coverage based on religious or moral objection. These two final birth control rules are scheduled to take effect in approximately two months. These unlawful rules could have far-reaching implications for the Affordable Care Act requirement to guarantee birth control coverage, which has benefited more than 62 million women, including 17 million Latina women and 15 million Black women.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Women resoundingly rejected the Trump-Pence agenda, so Trump and Pence took direct aim at women’s health coverage for birth control and abortion. These rules are dangerous, and not what the vast majority of the American people want. Where the administration has failed them, people now turn to the new pro-reproductive health majorities across the country to stop these attacks on their health and rights. Women will remember this attack on their basic health care.”

Trump-Pence administration issued a new proposed rule designed to make it impossible for health insurance plans to cover abortion under the ACA. If finalized, women across the country could lose access to coverage that includes abortion. By the administration’s own account, nearly 1.3 million consumers would be subject to these onerous restrictions. Not only would some plans drop coverage of abortion altogether so as to avoid the administrative burdens and the related consumer confusion, consumers could lose coverage altogether if they failed to follow the new requirements. 

In October 2017, the administration released two interim final rules — one allowing employers and universities to use religious beliefs to opt out of providing birth control coverage, and a second allowing them to opt out based on moral beliefs. More than 528,000 opposing comments were submitted to HHS by health care organizations and advocates as well as Planned Parenthood Federation of America in response to these attacks on birth control coverage. Federal courts in Pennsylvania and California blocked the interim rules last year, but the administration continued to move forward.

The Affordable Care Act recognizes birth control as preventive health care, requiring most health insurance plans to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. The Obama administration later granted a narrow accommodation to certain religious employers and religiously affiliated employers and schools. The provision allows them to opt out of birth control coverage, while ensuring employees are covered through their health insurance company.  

This comes as they advance a “gag rule” policy designed to dismantle the Title X program, the nation’s program for affordable birth control, and the one program meant to ensure that people with low-incomes can still access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is reviewing the full text of the rules and will provide a forthcoming analysis.


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