The Trump administration on Wednesday released a flurry of anti-choice rules in an apparent post-election attack on reproductive health access.
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor announced two final rules granting nonprofits and some businesses the right to apply for religious or moral exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control benefit, which requires that contraceptives be provided without a co-pay. A third rule was proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) which would require insurance companies to bill customers and collect payments separately “for the portion of the consumer’s premium attributable to certain abortion services,” which advocates say will threaten private insurance coverage for abortion care.
The birth control rules endanger the care of more than 55 million cisgender women and an uncertain number of trans and nonbinary people who depend on getting no co-pay contraceptive care through the ACA. While the birth control benefit already allowed for religious exemptions, the Trump administration has sought to further meet the demands of the religious right, which believes the previous exemption isn’t broad enough.
“These rules threaten to erode decades of progress in increasing women’s reproductive autonomy,” said Dr. Lisa Hollier, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), in a statement on the announcement. “The final rules follow an alarming pattern of medically unnecessary decisions in women’s health policy that, together, undermine women’s access to care and advance harmful, medically inaccurate rhetoric about women’s health.”
The release of the final birth control rules had been anticipated by advocates since news broke last month that finalized versions had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At the time it was unclear if the final rules would be different from the proposed draft rules