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(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Religious freedom’

White House announces move to restrict birth control coverage

By WITW Staff on May 31, 2017

In yet another blow to women’s reproductive health rights, the White House Office of Management and Budget has announced that it will review rules that require most employers to provide free contraception coverage in their health insurance plans for female employees.

Under the contraception mandate outlined by President Obama in 2012, birth control coverage was judged an essential preventative health service. As a result, birth control coverage was guaranteed to more than 55 million women in the U.S. and women saved an estimated $1.4 billion in birth control pill costs in the mandate’s first year alone. In addition to saving women money, the rule was also credited with helping lower the U.S.’s abortion rate to its lowest recorded point since abortion was made legal in 1973.

Religious employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor have long-fought against the mandate on the basis of “religious freedom,” as many claim that their religion forbids them from allowing women to use birth control to avoid pregnancy. In March, Trump signed an executive order ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to review the birth control coverage mandate, and promised the Little Sisters that their “long ordeal will soon be over.”

Legal advocacy groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) are reportedly planning to challenge the Trump administration’s attempt at revoking the Obama-era mandate.

“Without health coverage of contraception under the [Affordable Care Act], countless women will lose their basic right to prevent pregnancy and plan when they have children,” explained CRR President Nancy Northup. “Plain and simple: President Trump’s executive order will hurt women. And the Center for Reproductive Rights is ready to fight back in court.”

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.


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