Trump’s Latest Affront to Women, and to the Constitution
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Trump Administration was working on a plan to weaken the “contraception mandate”—the Obamacare rule that requires all employers who provide health insurance to include seamless coverage for women’s contraception. Now the plan has been leaked. At root, the Trump proposal would create a broad new exemption for any employer who objects to including contraception in their health plans for employees—and it would not replace that coverage. Women would be deprived of contraception coverage altogether. That change would weaken civil rights for women. Unwanted pregnancies and other irreversible health consequences would result. And the plan could violate the Establishment Clause by providing a religious accommodation for some private citizens only by shifting costs to others who may not share their beliefs.
Here is the background. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, it included a provision that required all employers who provided health insurance for their employees to include coverage for “preventive care,” at no increased cost to employees. Subsequently, the Obama Administration wrote regulations to implement that rule. Following extensive consultation with medical experts, it determined that the term “preventative care” includes all methods of female contraception that have been approved by the FDA. Those forms of contraception would have to be included in all employer plans, without any additional cost to employees.