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Trump Administration Hands Win to Bishops at the Expense of Women’s Healthcare

October 6, 2017

Washington, DC—Today the Trump administration handed a big political win to Catholic bishops and religious ultraconservatives by carving out sweeping exemptions to the birth control requirement in the Affordable Care Act. The decision—which broadens the original exemption for “religious employers”—allows any organization or corporation to deny birth control insurance coverage for religious objections or vaguely defined “moral reasons.” Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, Vice President of Catholics for Choice had this to say about the decision:

“These regulations are a cheaply calculated move by President Trump to pander to his ultra-right base. This purely political decision is not about protecting religious freedom, but about privileging one set of special interests at the expense of women nationwide.

Millions will be hurt, especially poor women, who most need insurance coverage for birth control to make their own ethical decisions about when, how and whether to have a family.

Women who have the misfortune of working for a company whose owners ‘morally object’ to birth control will face tough choices—like balancing paying for birth control with feeding their family; attending or teaching at the university of their choice, which denies them coverage, or seeking employment or education elsewhere. Women like Sandra—a science teacher who lost coverage at a Catholic school—are forced to decide whether to sacrifice a job they love or the healthcare they need. There will be more Sandra’s now that more employers can be exempt.

This decision runs counter to the views of most Americans, including Catholics, who believe that all women should have equal access to healthcare, including contraception. Approximately 79 percent of Catholics believe contraceptive coverage should be required in insurance plans, and 99 percent of sexually active Catholic women use contraception.

We urge Americans to speak out against these regulations, which go against women’s moral agency and our nation’s principles of freedom of and from religion.”