Health

Report: Trump Will Scrap Employer Contraception Mandate

| by Sheena Vasani

The Trump administration is reportedly about to overturn a federal rule mandating most employers must cover no-cost contraception for female employees.

A leaked draft of the proposed regulation obtained by Vox may allow employers to deny birth control coverage on the basis of religious or moral grounds.

The Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing this proposal draft -- the last step necessary before making a regulation official, reports HuffPost.

If finalized, women who currently receive no-cost contraception may now have to pay out of pocket for their birth control.

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Some are applauding Trump for his stance.

Department of Health And Human Services Secretary Tom Price praised Trump for "taking a strong stand for religious liberty."

“Bring me one woman who has been left behind,” Price told ThinkProgress in 2012 in response to arguments the contraception mandate former President Barack Obama had enacted made birth control more affordable and accessible to women. "Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country."

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an organization founded by nuns, was also happy to hear of the changes. The organization had previously challenged the Obama administration's 2012 ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the mandate violated the group's religious beliefs.

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"The draft rule seems to recognize the obvious -- there are enough ways for people to get contraceptives that we shouldn't be forcing nuns to provide them," said Mark Rienzi, a lawyer at the Becket Fund, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor, The Weekly Standard reports.

"It is a welcome sign that the Trump Administration is serious about working toward a final resolution in court," he added. "We have enough real problems to deal with in this country without our government picking silly culture war fights against nuns who care for the elderly poor."

But many reproductive rights activists say they are "sickened" by the potential new ruling. They say this will make life harder for the poor.

"The draft rule announced today attempts to tear away women’s control over their own private health decisions and put that control in the hands of employers and politicians," said Democratic House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.

"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," said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "Plain and simple: President Trump’s executive order will hurt women. And the Center for Reproductive Rights is ready to fight back in court."

Sources: Vox, HuffPost, ThinkProgress, The Weekly Standard / Photo credit: Bryancalabro/Wikimedia Commons

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