Trump Rolls Back Birth Control Coverage Rule
The Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama required that most insurance plans cover birth control, removing cost as a barrier for contraception. This meant that for-profit employers were compelled to cover all methods of contraception including the pill, IUD, and the morning-after-pill, which would come at no expense to the woman. This month, President Trump issued a new mandate that allows employers to not be required to include birth control in their company’s health insurance plans.
The reasoning behind it is that forcing employers to include birth control places a burden on the freedom to exercise religion and could also promote “risky sexual behavior” among adolescents, as some say. However employers will now have the opportunity to refuse to cover birth control as part of their employees health insurance, regardless of whether they are religious or not.
The result? Hundreds of thousands of women in the US will now have to pay for contraception from their own pockets. Before the law was first introduced it was said that one in three women struggled to afford birth control and that more than 20% of women had to pay for their own contraception. The pill can cost up to $50 each month and other methods such as IUDs are a lot more. Obama’s law saved women $1.4 billion on birth control during the first year, and resulted in the lowest abortion rate in the US since it became legal in 1973.
Those who are against Trump’s new rule say that the best way to reduce abortion is by investing in preventative health. Additionally, healthcare decisions have now been put into the hands of a woman’s employer which is not only discriminatory, but demeaning and dangerous.
Trump has previously supported women’s access to birth control yet this new law makes us wonder what he is trying to achieve. It seems like a way of gutting the rule without completely repealing it.
Religious conservatives are praising the initiative as it allows them to live with their religious beliefs, as some of them claim that birth control is akin to abortion. This new rule means that employers can provide health insurance in good conscience without having to provide contraceptives.
Many legal groups have already commented that they are going to challenge the new law on the grounds that it discriminates against women by singling out this issue.
Regardless of the different views on the matter, the result stays the same. Thousands of women will now have to pay for their own birth control which can be extremely expensive, especially with increasing drug prices in the US. A woman who can’t afford birth control loses a basic right and privilege.
What are your opinions on Trump’s new law? Does it discriminate against women? Will it increase abortion rates? We would love to hear your comments below.