Trump administration scraps ACA's birth control mandate

University of Arizona Center for Rural Health Navigators Maria Losoya gives people information and answers questions about health insurance in Tucson, Arizona U.S. REUTERS  Caitlin O'Hara

According to the Times, the rules will still allow exemption to a wide range of employers, including nonreligious organizations, for a variety of reasons, including "moral convictions", and will not require them to file notices or certifications.

The Obamacare provision required almost all employers to include a wide range of birth control methods in their healthcare plans, ensuring 55 million American women-according to the National Women's Law Center-had access to birth control and other preventive services without out-of-pocket costs.

"Application of the mandate to entities with sincerely held religious objections to it does not serve a compelling governmental interest", the Trump administration said in a statement.

"With this rule, the Trump administration is taking direct aim at birth control coverage for nearly two million women in North Carolina", said Jenny Black, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic's CEO, in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday said it is filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration. "The rights of LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, nontheists and others hang in the balance as the Trump administration continues to toe the line for its fundamentalist base". The website also claims that 65 percent of millennials believe that employers should include contraception at no cost.

"It improves the health of women, children and families as well as communities overall; reduces maternal mortality; and enhances economic stability for women and their families".

The Times reported that, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration, some 55 million women rely on the ACA's employer mandate to obtain birth control without a copayment. They also said some employers not associated with religious movements will use the move to justify declining to cover birth control because of unspecified moral objections.

The ACA's guarantee of coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs stands as one of the most important advancements in women's health in a generation. "Under this rule, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control".

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"Donald Trump's latest dictate is a ideal execution of his passions: controlling women and robbing people of healthcare", said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue.

The Supreme Court earlier had held in the Hobby Lobby case that closely held corporations could hold religious beliefs that exempted them from the mandate.

"President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom", said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

"Today's outrageous rules by the Trump Administration show callous disregard for women's rights, health, and autonomy, said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center".

"HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women's health", Dr. Haywood L. Brown, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement.

Both rules would take effect as soon as they are on display at the office of the Federal Register. Most lawsuits attacking the mandate assert that it violates a 1993 law protecting religious liberty. "In particular, people of color, low-income individuals, youth, immigrants, rural residents, and LGBTQ populations will be disproportionately impacted by this new federal restriction on reproductive health care".

A principal author of the rules, Matthew Bowman, a top lawyer at the Department of Health and Human Services, represented March for Life in 2014 when he was a lawyer at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group.

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