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Trump Administration Allows Companies to Deny Birth Control Coverage Because of Religious Freedom
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Summary: The White House has issued two new rules that allow companies to deny birth control to employees on the basis of religious liberty. 

On Friday, the Trump Administration announced a rollback to a birth-control mandate implemented by predecessor President Barack Obama. Officials said that effective immediately two new federal laws will allow companies to exempt themselves from providing free birth control options to employees if they have religious objections.


“No American should be forced to violate his or her own conscience in order to abide by the laws and regulations governing our healthcare system,” said Health and Human Services press secretary Caitlin Oakley. “Today’s actions affirm the Trump administration’s commitment to upholding the freedoms afforded All Americans under our Constitution.”

According to Reuters, this move keeps in line with President Donald Trump’s campaign promises to his conservative Christian base. The two new rules allow nonprofits, for-profit private companies, and publicly-traded companies to obtain religious exemptions to birth control for women.

So far, it is unclear whether or not companies will actually ask for the exemptions, but progressive groups and Democrats have already criticized the laws. The American Civil Liberties Union has also vowed to stop the change.

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“This administration’s contempt for women reaches a new low with this appalling decision,” Representative Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said.

Conservatives, however, have stated their support for Trump and his vow to protect religious freedom.

“This is a landmark day for religious liberty. Under the Obama administration, this constitutional right was seriously eroded,” Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said.

The contraception mandate was one part of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. It stated that all employers must provide free birth control to its employees, and it provided an exemption to religious organizations such as churches but not businesses. During Trump’s campaign, he vowed to help faith-based entities deny this coverage.

“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore,” Trump said.

Planned Parenthood expressed their disappointment at Trump’s decision, stating that almost 62 million women could lose their birth control coverage.

“With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said.

Case Western Reserve University School of Law professor Jonathan Adler told Reuters it was unlikely that publicly-traded companies would seek to not provide birth control for religious reasons. He said that could alienate potential shareholders, so why do it?

Attorney Mark Rienzi, who represented a charity that had challenged the birth control mandate in court, praised the Trump Administration’s decision to allow religious liberty.

“[Department of Health and Human Services] has issued a balanced rule that respects all sides – it keeps the contraceptive mandate in place for most employers and now provides a religious exemption,” said Rienzi to Reuters. 

What do you think of the two new religious liberty rules? Let us know in the comments below.


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