Trump Contraception Rule: Bottom Line
The Trump administration filed a new rule on Friday that represents a direct attack on the rights of millions of women to access health care. Under the Affordable Care Act, birth control is identified as one of 8 essential preventive services for women that must be covered by insurance plan. The Trump rule greatly broaden the types of organizations that can be exempted from the coverage requirement.
Thanks to the ACA requirement that birth control must be covered without co-pay or deductible, the share of women who had out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives has fallen sharply. Today, 62.4 million U.S. women have insurance coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs. In Ohio alone, it is estimated that 2.2 million women now benefit from no-cost birth control coverage.
In implementing the ACA, the Obama administration made certain exceptions for explicitly religious organizations including religiously-affiliated colleges and hospitals. And, as a result of the Hobby Lobby case (which Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine eagerly supported), the Supreme court extended that to closely held private businesses which had a specific religious objection. The new Trump rule goes much further, essentially allowing any employer or college that provides group health insurance coverage to opt out of providing birth control for “religious or moral” reasons.
This move threatens women’s economic security by denying them the basic freedom to make decisions about whether and when to have children. It further denies women access to basic preventive health services, which are required to be covered under the law, in a way that opponents say is clearly illegal sex-based discrimination.
The rules were filed as “final interim rules” effective October 6, meaning that there will not even be a public comment period prior to them taking effect. The ACLU and three states have filed suit and the Attorneys General of 15 other states have joined in opposition.
Ohio’s Mike DeWine is not among them.