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Trump Administration Moves To Cut Access To Free Birth Control In US

Sat, 7th Oct 2017 12:05

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - US President Donald Trump's administration on Friday issued a ruling which will expand employers' rights to opt out of providing free birth control in their health insurance plans, potentially affecting tens of millions of US women.

The ruling allows more employers to cite religious or moral objections to the contraceptive requirement, which was a prominent, and controversial, feature of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"President [Donald] Trump promised that this administration would 'lead by example on religious liberty,' and he is delivering on that promise," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Religious conservatives greeted the ruling, with Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B Anthony List, calling it "a huge victory for conscience rights."

However, women's rights groups voiced anger, with the National Women's Law Centre (NWLC) and the American Civil Liberties Union announcing plans to challenge the ruling in court.

The "outrageous" regulations showed "callous disregard for women's rights, health, and autonomy" and gave employers "a license to discriminate against women," NWLC president Fatima Goss Graves said.

The NWLC said 62 million women had benefited from the Obama-era legislation.

In its announcement on the change, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the order would only affect a very limited minority of women. However, health experts also blasted the decision.

"Instead of fulfilling its mission 'to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans,' HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women's health," Haywood L Brown, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said.

Copyright dpa

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