Donald Trump is coming for your birth-control pills

The White House has torpedoed the Obama-era contraception mandate for employee health insurance

Published October 6, 2017 12:50PM (EDT)


The Trump administration is doing everything it can to attack women’s health. Two weeks ago, Obama-era policies on campus sexual assault were rolled back. Two days ago, the House passed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In its latest installment of progress reversal, the administration has repealed the requirement that employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance programs, the so-called "contraception mandate".

The new regulations — as detailed by two memos sent to agencies Friday morning — allow any employer or insurer to deny birth control coverage on the grounds of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” according to a New York Times report.

The Trump White House has consistently hid under the guise of religious freedom when passing legislation to disadvantage women, gays and trans people. This time is no different — but there’s even more to it. Not only would the new rules allow contraception coverage to be denied for religious reasons, but also for “moral convictions.”

There is no requirement for companies to file any paperwork with the government before the changes take effect; they must only inform their employees if changes are going to be made, the Times report says.

While doctors and gynecologists have objected to the new measures, saying birth control has provided a leap forward in improving women’s health, the administration has defended its decision — one reason being that birth control may encourage “risky sexual behaviors” in teens, according to the Times.

The report also mentions the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Roman Catholic nuns who have been opposed to the Obama-era mandate, whom Trump promised would not be “bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs.”

According to the Times, exemptions would also be allowed for colleges and universities in their student health insurance programs, and the new rules “would take effect as soon as they are on display at the office of the Federal Register.”

By Leigh C. Anderson

Leigh C. Anderson is an editorial intern at Salon.

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