After taking a few months to mull over the particulars of how it would unceremoniously yank birth control coverage from some 55 million women, the Trump administration will reportedly move forward with its plan.
The impending executive order will broadly rescind an Affordable Care Act mandate requiring employers’ health insurance policies to cover birth control. White House officials told the New York Times that the new regulations could be issued on Friday.
Familiarly, the White House’s new rules are to be introduced under a guise of religious freedom. While the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling only exempted individuals and companies with “sincerely held religious beliefs” from covering birth control, the Trump administration’s rules go one step further. From the Times:
Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have “moral convictions” against covering contraceptives.
Administration officials claim the new rules would “bring to a close the more than five years of litigation” contesting the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate. Given that repealing the requirement is likely to invite more litigation, the White House’s intentions couldn’t be more clear. This is about appealing to an evangelical right that wants its parochial interpretation of the Bible imposed on every element of government policy.
Notes from the new regulations even argue accessible birth control promotes “risky sexual behavior.” Mhmm.
It comes as no surprise that the new rules were authored by an anti-abortion proponent, Matthew Bowman. Before joining the Department of Health and Human Services as one of its higher-ranking lawyers, Bowman worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an ultra-consverative Christian advocacy group, where one of his clients was March for Life.
Incidentally, the Alliance Defending Freedom is the same group that authored a sweeping anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” law slated to go into effect in Mississippi on Friday.