With both the House and the Senate currently in recess until June 6, President Trump and his administration have been bulldozing forward on issues ranging from climate change to health care. In his most recent rollback, all employers—religious and nonreligious—will be able to request and receive an exemption from contraceptive coverage for their employees. Vox has released the full document here—feel free to read through it angrily.
Under ObamaCare, “contraceptive methods and counseling” are declared to be essential services—so all employers must cover birth control for their employees. In the 2015 Hobby Lobby Case, two major companies refused to pay for their employees’ access to the morning-after pill, among other contraceptive measures. The Supreme Court ruled in their favor. Yet while employees of religious organizations are not covered directly, they still receive access through a third party.
According to a 2015 HealthAffairs study, this policy saved each woman using the contraceptive pill approximately $255 annually in out-of-pocket fees. It’s obvious why it’s been so popular—women really need birth control. Paul Ryan clearly misspoke when he called a woman’s access to birth control a "nitty-gritty detail." In 2012, the CDC reported that over 60 percent of women of fertile age use some form of contraception.
According to VICE News, this rule could be approved and released by the Office of Management and Budget in as few as 90 days. Thankfully, we have the ACLU on our side. Earlier this morning, they released a statement, declaring their intent to "see the Trump administration in court if they try to follow through on these plans.” According to The Washington Post, even prominent Republican senators are seeking bipartisan support for health care reform.
No matter what happens, community health centers and organizations like Planned Parenthood will continue to exist, but their funding is being threatened by Trump as well. We have to keep fighting against these attempts to reduce our rights.