The Trump administration just made it easier for employers to stop offering coverage for birth control in their health insurance plans, a decision that potentially impacts thousands of women across the U.S.
The new regulation, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, partially rolls back the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, which required employers to include birth control coverage in their healthcare plans. Under the Obama administration, the mandate didn't apply to churches, certain for-profit organizations, and some charities who could raise religious or moral-based objections to covering contraception. But now, the Trump administration is giving more flexibility to any employer to cite these objections to offering birth control coverage. The regulation goes into effect immediately.
It's been expected for a long time that President Trump go through with this decision: Since May, there have been reports that the administration was drafting a plan to roll back the mandate. And in the wake of the Republicans' failure to repeal Obamacare last month, it was only a matter of time before Trump would directly tackled this aspect of the healthcare law — one his conservative base dislikes the most.
The Obamacare contraception mandate allowed more than 55 million women in the U.S. to have access to birth control without copayments. Under the Trump administration's regulations, thousands of women are at risk of losing the birth control benefits they're currently receiving at no cost.
This is not the only attack on women's healthcare this week, either. On Tuesday, the House voted to ban abortion after 20 weeks of conception and on Thursday, that same bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham and 45 other Republicans.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue told Refinery29 earlier this week that we could expect an influx of executive actions and legislation targeting women's healthcare under the guise of "religious liberty."
"We're starting to see the loosening of protections in the workplace and how that helps that women can actually be discriminated against because of our reproductive health choices," she said. "These are real threats we need to pay close attention to."