WASHINGTON - This morning, a leaked rule appeared to unveil the Trump administration’s intent to significantly roll back access to birth control through the Affordable Care Act.

Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This rule would mean women across the country could be denied insurance coverage for birth control on a whim from their employer or university. It makes a farce of the Trump administration’s so-called ‘women’s empowerment’ agenda and endangers a woman’s ability to make the most basic and personal of decisions – when and if to have a child. It would expand the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling to allow any employer – including huge, publicly traded companies – to deny birth control coverage to their employees. Think about it: Under this rule, bosses will be able to impose their personal beliefs on their female employees’ private medical decisions.

“This is the latest in a long line of attacks on women’s health we’ve seen from this administration. Birth control is essential for women’s health and lives, and should never be a decision made by a woman’s employer. In the last decade, we’ve made important progress advancing the cause of women’s health: Unintended pregnancy is at an all-time low today thanks in part to expanded access to birth control, an Affordable Care Act provision that saved women an estimated $1.4 billion in its first year alone. This measure threatens that progress. The Trump administration should not release it.”

Background

The rule, if issued in the leaked format, will allow any employer or school (nonprofit or for-profit) to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, for religious or moral reasons. It also allows  insurers to opt out of providing coverage, on the basis of any religious or moral objection, and for the first time would allow individuals to request their health insurance companies not cover birth control. The rule does maintain the accommodation worked out by the Obama administration as a voluntary option, presumably for employers who want to provide coverage but don't want to pay for it. The birth control accommodation put into place by the Obama administration ensured that employers and schools could not impose their religious views on others, by providing women access to no-copay birth control regardless of their employers’ or schools’ objection to birth control.

The rule would go into effect immediately, with a 60-day comment period.

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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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.