“With this executive order,” Mr. Trump said at a celebration in The Rose Garden on May 4th, “we are ending the attacks on your religious liberty.” Pause for a collective sigh, because we all knew what that meant: the rolling back of fundamental rights based on the "moral issues" of the religious right, in this case, the rolling back of birth control coverage.
Yesterday, May 30th, 2017, the Trump administration kept their promise and announced that they are reviewing legislation that will roll back a rule, fought for by the Obama administration, that employers must include birth control in their health care package at no extra cost to women.The details of the rule have yet to be announced, but the White House Office of Managment and Budget is reviewing an "interim final rule," that would relax this regulation, which roughly translates to "The White House will not enforce this protection."
Gretchen Borchelt, a vice president of the National Women’s Law Center, said: “We think whatever the rule is, it will allow an employer’s religious beliefs to keep birth control away from women. We are sure that some women will lose birth control coverage.”
The protection, which was passed as part of the affordable care act, created friction from the moment it was enacted, with religious employers immediately challenging it. One such group, the 178-year old religious order The Little Sisters of the Poor, refused to comply, challenged the rule all the way to the Supreme Court. In a short, unsigned order, the court gave the nuns an exemption from signing paperwork that was religiously objectionable; however, it did not offer a resolution on the larger case.
The Trump administration initially signaled the White House would have a change of policy on May 4th when he signed an executive order asking that three different cabinets “address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.” This was followed by a celebration in The Rose Garden where, in a hugely symbolic act, Trump invited the order to join him on the dais and announced that the nuns had “sort of just won a lawsuit” and that the “long ordeal will soon be over.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a statement to the press yesterday summing it up for all of us women: she called yesterday's move "sickening," citing the move as part of Trump's "campaign against women."
Image via Flicker/GageSkidmore
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Miriam Mosher graduated from Smith College before moving to New York where she is a writer by day and beer maven by night. She is a proud feminist, a champion of the semicolon and an avid thrifter. See more from Miriam at Bushwick Daily and Two Cities Literary Review.