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New Rule Permits All Employers to Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage, Sweeping Step Toward Completely Dismantling the Birth Control Benefit

“The Trump Administration just took direct aim at birth control coverage for 62 million women, eliminating the guarantee that health insurance would cover contraception.”


WASHINGTON, DC — The Trump administration has taken direct aim at birth control coverage for more than 62 million American women, including 1.4 million Massachusetts women, by 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 Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

The Trump administration just took direct aim at birth control coverage for 62 million women. This is an unacceptable attack on basic health care that the vast majority of women rely on. With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control.

We’re talking about a fundamental right -- to be able to decide whether and when you want to have children.

Birth control is not controversial -- it’s health care the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime. Two million women rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for birth control. Nine out of ten women of reproductive age will use birth control in their lifetime.  This administration is carrying out a full-scale attack on birth control--- eliminating insurance coverage for birth control, eliminating programs that help women with low incomes access birth control, and moving to prohibit health care providers from even giving women information about birth control or abortion. We cannot allow President Trump to roll back the progress women have made over the past century.


Statement from Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts:

This extreme, politically motivated rule shows exactly why Massachusetts must be proactive in protecting basic health care access. Right now, lawmakers have the opportunity to do just that by passing the ACCESS bill, commonsense legislation that will safeguard Massachusetts women from these federal assaults on birth control access and actually expand access to contraception.

The anti-science, anti-women’s health extremists in the Trump Administration are showing their fundamental disdain for the reality of women’s health and lives. Massachusetts women and their families can’t afford to wait until their employer denies them coverage or the ACA is repealed for the state to take action.

Massachusetts needs to stand up to this attack by passing the ACCESS bill and making sure decades of progress are not rolled back.

The Affordable Care Act includes a provision that includes 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 ACCESS bill would guarantee insurance coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for all FDA-approved methods of birth control, codifying the ACA’s protections into state law.  The bill also builds on the ACA by improving access to over-the-counter emergency contraception and requiring insurers to cover a 12-month supply of birth control in a single dispensing after a successful completion of an initial three-month prescription.

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 is peppered with anti-contraception language, making its real purpose clear. For example, the rule rejects the notion that there is a connection between coverage for birth control and reducing unintended pregnancy.

The rule will go into effect immediately, with a comment period ending on December 5.



FACT: Nearly nine in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives, whether for family planning or other medical reasons like treating endometriosis.

FACT:  We are at the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years, and a historic low of  pregnancy among teens because of expanded access to birth control and sex education.

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.

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