The Trump Administration repealed a rule established under the Obama era which mandated employers to provide their employees with contraception coverage without co-payments.
The rule originally put into place under the Affordable Care Act in 2010, assisted in preventing unwanted pregnancy by minimizing co-payments and additional costs covering over 55 million women. The Department of Health and Human Services mandated rule now financially burdens hundreds of thousands of women for contraception, reversing years of progress throughout this pro-longed debate.
The New York Times stated that the “rule offers an exemption to any employer that objects to covering contraception services on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” Meaning, any company of profit, any small business, any employer can deny an employee this benefit based on personal belief without report to the government.
Not only has this rule been placed into effect immediately, but the administration deemed the standard policy of seeking public comment as “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Additionally, the administration saw that informing the public could create a potential for teenagers and “young women” to conduct themselves in “risky sexual behavior.”
Since the Obama administration, there had been some debate over the original rule passed. Most of the noise sources from religious employers argued that their religious beliefs were violated through this order. Litigation took place for years but was subsequently resolved allowing the original order to stand.
The legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State asserted that “Religious freedom is the right to believe and worship as you see fit,” Mr. Katskee said. “It’s never the right to use government to impose costs, burdens or harms on other people. You can’t use the government to make other people pay the price for your religious beliefs or practices.”
When the general public was asked about whether they support no-cost contraception, 73% of women and 64% of men reported that it should be covered.
This statistic conveys a popular position of opposition and can surely predict heavy backlash against this order. The state of Massachusetts and California have already filed federal lawsuits against the new rule stating it violates the First Amendment by “respecting an establishment of religion.”As a country we can only wait to see how the Trump Administration will handle the out lash and the response to this will surely set a tone of how this budding administration will handle women’s rights issues for the following four years.