Trump administration announces rollback of Obamacare birth control mandate

A protester is detained and escorted out by U.S. Capitol Police during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the last-ditch GOP push to overhaul the nation's health care system

The Trump administration is expected to release new regulations Friday relaxing an Obama-era requirement that almost all employers offer health insurance that covers a wide array of contraceptive methods.

A new regulation issued Friday by the Health and Human Services Department allows employers to opt out of providing birth control on moral or religious grounds.

The Act required employer-provided health insurance policies to include coverage for preventative care, including birth control using all contraceptive methods approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

"By taking away women's access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women", Graves added.

During the presidential campaign Trump promised to champion religious liberty from the White House.

This led to what could be called "resistance" and court rulings, including at SCOTUS, that did not go well for the Obamacare attempted hegemony.

"No Americans should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith", he said, announcing the administration's plan to revisit birth control-related regulations and expand who was eligible for an exemption. The agency is issuing guidelines for insurers that specify they have to charge women who want abortion coverage at least $12 a year for that coverage. In 2014, Hobby Lobby, a craft-supply retailer, won a case against the mandate in a 5-4 Supreme Court.

The Trump administration argues that women have affordable contraceptive options should employers drop coverage, and that several government programs provide free or subsidized contraception for low-income women, including Title X family planning grants.

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As a candidate, Trump promised that he would "make absolutely certain religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor are not bullied by the federal government due to their religious beliefs".

According to The Washington Post, Trump denied a request from GOP-controlled Iowa to stabilize the state's "ailing" health insurance markets.

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.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed in concert with the Service Employee International Union-United Health Care Workers West (SEIU-UHW).

So the Trump administration's argument that regulating birth control would stop risky sexual behavior among adolescents spurred some outrage.

The Trump administration says the new rules are motivated by "our desire to bring to a close the more than five years of litigation" over the contraceptive coverage mandate. The administration acknowledges that the law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, "does not provide protection for nonreligious, moral conscientious objections".

Becket and other law firms representing employers with religious objections to birth control say they will continue to await a final injunction from the courts, since even the new rules aren't set in stone. The Obama administration exempted houses of worship, but religious-affiliated groups that objected still had to allow a third-party administrator handle the contraception coverage.

This decision arrives on the heels of the GOP's latest failed attempt to scrap the ACA altogether, the Graham-Cassidy bill, which had also promised to make it more hard for women to access birth control.

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