Rights activists have condemned the move

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare as it is popularly known, received a jolt when its contraceptive mandate, already a controversial issue, was undermined, Employers now have the power to not provide birth control coverage. This was made possible by new rules set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The rules came to effect October 6. This will severely impact millions of women who at present receive contraceptives free of cost as per the old provision. The ACA was needed to be totally covered with no instance of co-pay as preventive service.

Officials of Health and Human Services said that this new rule would affect the maximum number of employers. The list includes publicly traded companies, non-profits, and private firms. These organizations could stop providing contraceptives via their subscribed health insurance plans. The officials said the new rule will have absolutely no impact on “99.9 percent” of women in America. The figure is misleading as the percentage is calculated on the total female population in the United States. Most of them are yet to reach their child-bearing stage. As per Health and Human Services officials, a maximum of 120,000 women will feel the effect of this decision.

Policy experts differ. Tim Jost, the emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, opined that this step will enthuse a large number of employers to drop all coverage. This announcement is the latest iteration of President Trump's executive order which he produced in May. That particular order offers what is termed as 'regulatory relief' for those organizations which say no on the basis of religion to the ACA coverage requirements. The latter includes contraception and a few other health services.

The Trump move has come under fire from groups like National Women's Law Center, Center for Reproductive Rights, and also American Civil Liberties Union. The office of Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General of California, has also opposed such moves. Many persons of faith oppose such steps as well.

Reverend Susan Russell, an activist residing at Pasadena California, and an Episcopal priest by profession, said that Christianity's core values signify justice, dignity, and respect for all human beings. This administrative move made by Donald Trump has been condemned by Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The latter said that the Trump administration has made a number of false attempts to unfairly use religion and morality to undermine due access to contraception via ACA.

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