Trump Administration Expands Exemptions for HHS Birth Control Mandate

The act included a loophole for churches and other religious employers to opt out of that requirement, in which case the government arranged the coverage directly with the employer's insurance company without employer involvement.

Such exceptions are the target of at least one of the rules, which "offers an exemption to any employer or insurer that objects to covering contraceptive services 'based on its sincerely held religious beliefs'".

Millions of American women who had the cost of contraception reimbursed could be affected by the Trump administration's decision, which conservative groups had been seeking since Obamacare began.

I have nothing more to say except: I share your anger. This precedent, of course, had been established in the Supreme Court's 2014 ruling that Hobby Lobby could exempt itself from the ACA's birth control mandate on religious grounds and is now being seized on in the Trump era.

"Today's decision by the Trump administration puts healthcare decisions in the hands of a woman's employer, which is so demeaning, discriminatory, and unsafe that it's hard to put it into words", Herring said in a statement.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the action will allow companies and nonprofit groups to exclude coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

However, the rules are likely to generate more litigation, this time by advocates for women and public health groups.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday.

The exemption will be available to for-profit companies, whether they are owned by one family or thousands of shareholders.

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As a result of the ACA, most women no longer pay for contraceptives.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.

"Contraception is an essential component of health care", Davis said in a Friday press release.

Brown said that weakening contraception coverage could also take a toll on maternal mortality, community health and economic stability of women and families.

Experts have pointed out that many women use birth control methods for more than pregnancy prevention, including treatment of hormonal imbalances and endometriosis.

"The Trump administration is saying to employers, 'If you want to discriminate, we have your back, '" said Fatima Goss Graves, president of National Women's Law Center.

That might create some legal tension if courts rule that the Trump administration is trying to avoid the regulatory process, so they had better prepare both pathways. Last May, the president ordered the federal government to vigorously promote and protect religious liberty - and now the DOJ and HHS are moving to make that order a reality.

The new interim final rules fulfill a promise President Donald Trump made in May, when he signed his religious freedom executive order. "The private medical decisions made by an employee are not the business of their employer", the group said. That provision said employers aren't required to provide access to birth control, but women who sought contraception couldn't be denied access - nor would they have to pay for it - if they dealt directly with their insurance provider, essentially cutting their employer out of the process. A number of religiously affiliated schools have filed lawsuits challenging the mandate.

  • Megan Austin