WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is poised to roll back the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, vastly expanding exemptions for those that cite moral or religious objections.
The new rules, which could be issued as soon as Friday, fulfill a campaign promise by President Trump and are sure to touch off a round of lawsuits on the issue.
More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
One new rule offers an exemption to any employer or insurer that objects to covering contraceptive services “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have “moral convictions” against covering contraceptives.
Both rules would take effect as soon as they are on display at the office of the #Federal Register.
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.
“Application of the mandate to entities with sincerely held religious objections to it does not serve a compelling governmental interest,” it says.
The Trump administration acknowledges that this is a reversal of President Barack Obama’s conclusion that the mandate was needed because the government had a compelling interest in protecting women’s health.
In the new rules, the Trump administration says the Affordable Care Act does not explicitly require coverage of contraceptives.