WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) – President Donald Trump is rolling back the federal mandate that requires employers to provide birth control coverage.
The president had promised to change the Affordable Care Act throughout his campaign.
Trump issued a new set of rules Friday that allows employers to opt-out of providing certain contraceptive coverage to women if they object on moral or religious grounds.
“The president believes that the freedom to practice one’s faith is a fundamental right in this country, and I think all of us do. That’s all that today was about,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The Trump administration says the Obamacare mandate violates employers’ freedom of religion.
“This is a president who supports the first amendment, supports the freedom of religion. I don’t understand why that should be an issue,” Sanders said.
Gretchen Borchelt, with the National Women’s Law Center, says the Trump rules are a blow for women’s health and rights.
“It’s really prioritizing a certain religious view about contraception over a woman’s own personal beliefs and her views about what’s right for her and her body,” she said.
Borchelt says her organization will join others in suing the Trump administration.
“To take this away from women, while not changing the other care that men receive, is really an attack on women,” she said. “That’s discrimination – pure and simple.”
An Obama administration study showed more than 55 million women accessed free birth control because of the contraceptive coverage mandate. The new regulations could end that coverage for hundreds of thousands of women.
The new rules take effect immediately.