Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) applauded the U.S. District Court’s decision today blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict birth control access. Under the restrictions, employers could opt out of providing birth control for their employees under “any religious or moral reason.” In October, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra had filed the request for a nationwide preliminary injunction to prevent the administration from withdrawing an essential health care benefit. Today’s court decision on the Birth Control Mandate shows the Trump administration that they cannot ignore the law when attempting to implement significant regulatory changes, and, for the time being, will protect contraceptive access for millions of Americans in California and across the country.
“Today’s announcement that Judge Gilliam has granted a preliminary injunction, stopping the administration’s efforts to roll back the birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act, is a win for equal rights and for millions of Americans around the country,” said Crystal Strait, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “We applaud Attorney General Xavier Becerra, once again, for his bold leadership standing up to the Trump administration’s unlawful and immoral action. As a result, birth control remains readily available so that all people can make their own choices about when and if they want to become pregnant.”
President Trump’s harmful movement to restrict access to birth control would have had wide-ranging consequences, erecting new barriers to reproductive health care and leading to increases in unintended pregnancies, premature births, and maternal mortality. Over 62 million women have directly benefited from no-cost birth control benefits included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with women saving $1.4 billion on birth control pills in 2013 alone.
The Birth Control Mandate rollback not only disregarded the well-documented medical benefits that birth control provides, but also ignored the serious social and business repercussions that would have resulted from discontinuing birth control coverage. Since the legalization of birth control in 1965, women have entered the workforce in record numbers. Birth control coverage has given millions of Americans and their families the ability to choose whether, or when, to have children, enabling them to obtain the education and skills necessary to succeed in their chosen fields and have longer, more productive careers.
Despite laws already in the books in California to protect access, the rule change would have allowed self-insured employers the right to refuse providing cost-free birth control benefits to employees for moral or religious reasons, potentially affecting 6.8 million Californians who are currently on employer self-funded health care plans.
Because Planned Parenthood health centers provide birth control to almost one million Californians each year, Jenna Tosh Ph.D, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, signed a declaration supporting the motion. “Reducing barriers to birth control has played a significant role in improving women’s lives. We cannot let this administration play politics with our health care,” Tosh said.
Attorneys General Matthew Denn, Brian Frosh, Eric Schneiderman, and Mark Herring of Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, respectively, joined Attorney General Becerra’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The seven independently incorporated Planned Parenthood 501(C)(3) affiliates operate 115 health centers serving close to 800,000 Californians each year. They provide preventive and reproductive health care services including family planning, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment and in some areas primary health care services.