Trump Administration Moves Back On Obama-era Birth Control Policy

Claire Schmig
Staff Writer

Last week, the Trump administration ruled to deny health care coverage of birth control on the basis of employer religious freedom. This ruling rolls back former President Barack Obama’s contraceptive coverage mandate to allow over 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments.

This ruling was coupled with guidelines for organizations, employers and workers to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws on the basis of religious freedoms or moral convictions. Critics view these rulings as unconstitutional and discriminatory towards women who chose to have this form of healthcare. However, some conservatives and religious groups see these new rules as a way for employers to express their religious freedom if birth control use goes against their beliefs.

“Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in his press release when issuing federal agencies to comply with existing protections for religious liberties.”

“It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith.”

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However, Chrystyan Marlow, the president of UD’s student group Feminists United, thinks this ruling is not about reducing religious freedom at all, it’s about women’s health. While one of the medical uses of birth control is protection from pregnancy, women depend on it for many other health reasons.

“The mandate does not require insurance plans to cover male contraceptives…because birth control is medically necessary to ensure women’s health and well-being,” Marlow said. “It does not cover birth control to help women prevent pregnancy.”

It is unsure how many women will be affected by the new rules, but the New York Times projects nearly hundreds of thousands of women will lose these benefits. With the rule of denying access based on religious and moral convictions, the possibility of many employers exempting themselves from offering contraceptives to women increases.

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