ACLU, Women's Groups File, Threaten Lawsuits Over Trump Birth Control Ruling

"HHS 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".

Within minutes of the White House announcing the change to the rule, the Justice Department issued a directive to all executive branch departments and agencies stating that "to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity".

Brown added that the change also could affect the maternal mortality, community health, and economic stability of women and families. The administration exempted houses of worship and unsuccessfully tried to make accommodations for religiously affiliated groups to allow their employees to still receive the coverage from a third party.

In expanding the exemption for employers, the Trump administration says there are many other sources of birth control.

After oral arguments in the case in March 2016, the Supreme Court, in a rare move in the middle of a case, directed both the government and the plaintiffs to submit briefs explaining if, and how, a conclusion could be reached providing the contraceptive coverage while at the same time respecting the religious freedom of the nonprofits.

There is no way to satisfy all of the religious objections to the contraceptive coverage mandate, so "it is necessary and appropriate to provide the expanded exemptions", the Trump administration says in the new rules.

"Donald Trump's latest dictate is a ideal execution of his passions: controlling women and robbing people of healthcare", said NARAL president Ilyse Hogue. And it appears to have reduced women's spending on contraception.

The action by the Trump administration is nearly certain to spark fresh litigation.

Despite Donald Trump's promise to create a "beautiful" healthcare system for all Americans, a new report shows that he's using the federal government to do just the opposite.

In reaction immediately after the 150-page interim ruling was issued, religious groups that had opposed the mandate were pleased with the administration's action.

Advocates for religious groups called the rule a major step forward after years of fighting the requirement.

According to The Washington Post, Trump denied a request from GOP-controlled Iowa to stabilize the state's "ailing" health insurance markets. The National Women's Law Center - which estimates that in 2013 alone, the contraception requirement saved women $1.4 billion in oral contraceptive costs - has vowed to challenge the administration in court.

It took almost nine months to take action, but the Trump administration will finally act on its promise to undo the HHS contraception mandate and protect religious liberty.

In a statement, Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said her organization "applauds the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that the right of conscientious employers and employees not to participate in or provide abortion-causing drugs is protected in law". Prior to the ACA, 20 percent of American women of reproductive age paid out of pocket for oral contraceptives, which decreased to less than 4 percent a few years after it became the law.

"There is no way to know how many women will be affected", said Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on health policy research and communications.

  • Rogelio Becker