Should Your Boss Dictate Your Family Planning Options? President Trump Thinks So.

President Donald Trump finally made it clear today. He believes business owners like him should have a decisive role in their female employees’ intimate and personal family planning decisions.

In two new rules released this morning, the Trump administration authorized virtually any employer to deny its employees contraceptive coverage based on a religious or moral objection. This means that a woman could lose birth control coverage — a benefit that is otherwise guaranteed by law — simply because her boss has a religious objection to it.

And because these rules go into effect immediately, soon women will literally be paying for their bosses’ beliefs.

The rules will undermine the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of coverage for birth control without a copay. The birth control benefit allows women to choose any Food and Drug Administration-approved birth control method free of cost. It has been a game changer for women since taking effect in 2012 — it’s estimated that women saved more than $1 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.

This has given women more power to make decisions about their lives, their families, and their futures.

Existing regulations already exempt houses of worship that object to this coverage from having to provide it to their employees. For certain other employers, there’s an “accommodation” that acts as a workaround to ensure that employees and their families get the coverage they need despite their bosses’ religious objections. Those employers simply have to fill out a one-page form stating their objection and then the health insurance company provides the coverage directly to the employee.

But the two new rules — one creating an exemption based on religious beliefs and one creating an exemption based on moral beliefs — would together allow virtually any employer to deny this coverage to employees and universities to deny it to students. Employers and universities could deny the coverage outright, with no accommodations to ensure that women get coverage from the insurer.

It’s outrageous. It’s unfair. It’s discriminatory.

If only it were surprising.

On the contrary, it’s exactly what we have come to expect from an administration that takes every opportunity to attack women’s health and to license discrimination in the name of religious liberty. Today, in fact, the administration issued not only the contraception rules, but a sweeping guidance making clear that this administration thinks religious liberty licenses discrimination. It’s clear that we can expect to see more from them.

And of course, this attack on the birth control benefit is just one piece of this administration’s frightening vision for the future of women’s health and equality. Since entering the White House, Trump and company have already done much to turn back the clock on both. Trump has pushed to dismantle the ACA through legislation that would have closed Planned Parenthood health centers around the country, gutted maternity coverage, and put even more onerous restrictions on abortion coverage.

He has also appointed long time 
opponents of birth control and abortion rights to oversee — and undermine — key reproductive health policies. He proposed a budget that would eliminate Planned Parenthood from all federal programs, cutting off access to millions of patients. A smiling Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote to undo regulations that ensured Title X family planning grants go to the most qualified health care providers. And not long ago, the administration quietly cut millions in grants to programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy.

If there’s any good news, it’s this: You have an opportunity to weigh in on these rules.

Even though these rules are — outrageously — effective immediately, they are still subject to a public comment period. That means that you can make sure that the administration hears from you. You can let them know what the birth control benefit means to you. You can tell them that you won’t stand for discrimination by 
submitting a comment.

And we won’t either. That’s why we filed our lawsuit today challenging these rules. Every time the Trump administration tries to enshrine discrimination into law, he can rest assured that we’ll see him in court.

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Anonymous

'President' my ass. The American ppl never even voted him in. PUTIE-pie Putin & company did. He won't last beyond the beginning of 2019 and his plummet from the top when it finally happens is going to be spectacularly horrid.
Unless of course he STOPS doing all these HORRIFIC things to EVERYone, whicfh he won't of course.
My friend, Andrew, said "If it isn't President Caligula. Come right in and pull up a whip." He "reckons this president is going to throw your country to the dogs of Russia."
He was right when he said Bush would "get us in a spot of trouble," and I voted for Bush but not so he could do what ended up happening.
I have no idea how Andrew knew way ahead of time. He went to Oxford University in England but that shouldn't mean he'd know American life. He knew about Bush though, and he's not happy with Trump bc Andrew's from London, England. He's been there every time Trump has made his stupid comments about the terrorist attacks in London.

Anonymous

Did they ever find an actual employee at one of the companies the Obama administration sued over this that was unhappy with that part of their employee health insurance plan? The activists really didn't seem to care what the actual women impacted by this thought about it. All those employees of Hobby Lobby came close to losing their jobs over a lawsuit supposedly on their behalf that they never asked for. I had insurance plans through jobs for almost 2 decades and never heard anyone complain about the birth control coverage or lack there of. Besides, most employee insurance plans did consider the requests and complaints of employees when re-doing the plan every year so if enough people wanted IUDs covered, for example, there was a good chance they would be (they are actually cheap from the perspective of the insurance company) as it would stop people complsining without raising the premiums by much if anything.

Anonymous

I sincerely can't see why a boss should have to betray his God given conscience and fund / provide contraceptives to his employees. What's contraception got to do with health care?

Anonymous

Contraception is actually part of healthcare. Most employers provided it before ACA, though.

Anonymous

I'll give an example that doesn't even involve a uterus, which the people trying to take this away typically don't have or can no longer use.

I have IBS, also known as irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon. Loose stools full of blood and mucus only 3 times a day is considered a good day. You know when you have those fiery hot farts followed by cramping and you just know it's going to be hell in a few minutes? That's several times a day. There have been attacks where the spasms were so bad that I was unable to stop them and it stimulated my vagus nerve, leading to nearly passing out. All that biology is something that even men can understand. Unfortunately for me, I am also biologically female, which means fluctuating hormones. Fluctuating hormones means diarrhea 5+ times a day, every day, every month, all year for 30-35 years. In my case, "birth control" should instead be called "hormone therapy" since its main purpose for me is to help keep this condition under control or at least remove the hormone fluctuation factor. And as a lovely bonus, acne is kept under control, because again, hormones.

Now getting to the non-birth control uses for those with uteruses, the menstrual cramps that would normally require 4+ ibuprofen to tame, worse than a migraine (some of which are triggered by, you guessed it, hormones), are no longer an issue so I can get my productivity back. Other women have conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and cancers that can be treated or prevented with hormone therapy. So yes, it is a medical issue. It may be hard to see, but it is also an economical issue when reduced productivity is taken into account. Anyone who says it's not that bad or to power through it, consider yourself lucky to have never experienced how bad it can be.

Anonymous

Yes, but Hobby Lobby's birth control covered the pill. It covered several types of birth control. The pill was just a standard part of the medication coverage of most plans and most employers didn't give it any more thought than they gave the coverage of Zantac. It was mainly just a few types of religious organizations that didn't cover the pill and most of the people working for them shared their views on birth control or were ok enough with it to not seek employment elsewhere. The medications that it was hard to get employers to cover, or cover without huge copays, were the very expensive medications (from the insurance companies perspective which is very different from the average persons) and newer or brand name medications that had cheaper and/or generic alternatives. Getting coverage for some of those could be life or death BIT they could also raise the premiums so high that other employees couldn't afford the insurance. Those medications ARE NOT guaranteed coverage under Obamacare, either. I often stand in line at the pharmacy and hear people discussing which medicines they can skip or half because they can't afford them (important medicines like heart medicine) and they often aren't all that concerned with birth control (possibly because without their heart medicine sex would kill them).

Anonymous paramedic

They're too goddam stupid to know birth control is used to stop massive bleeding (nothing to do w/ pregnancy, I'm talking about menorrhagia); I'd never work for ANY of them. I hope they lose everything they made the way HE does all the time.
I can't wait until the day he's gone.

Anonymous

You are assuming that the employer would let the woman die in that situation but it wasn't that cut and dry before Obamacare. One of the companies I worked for once devoted several members of their HR department to getting the insurance company to cover a specialized medication for the very sick child of an employee (just a regular employee, too, not a high level manager). I forget the correct term for the type of medication but its basically a medication that is specifically tailored to a very sick individual. Its extremely expensive and rarely covered by insurance. The company absorbed the increased premium. Why would you assume that a company wouldn't ask for an exception for the pill for a life saving condition that didn't have to do with birth control? I'm not saying they will but there is no reason to say they won't, either.

Also, before the ACA there were plans that you could set up if you had a chronic medical condition and knew you were going to end up with at least a specific amount of medical expenses. It would take the amount you specified out of your paycheck, before taxes, and that amount was untaxable if it was used to pay medical expenses which was actually a huge savings. Then, there were tax deductions for the amount you paid for medical bills. So. even before the ACA there were work arounds and, since the work arounds were mostly what the employees asked for, they were tailored to the workforce of the company. Employees weren't powerless and could influence their health plans and other benefits.

Anonymous

Grow up and be responsible for your own actions. The best birth control is self control. We should help those who need help not those who can't keep in in their pants.

Anonymous

Excuse me? Women aren't the ones who need to keep it in their pants. Self control? Sexual behavior is natural. No one explain to you the birds and the bees, or what?

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