Last week, a leaked rule appeared to unveil the Trump administration’s intent to significantly roll back access to birth control through the Affordable Care Act. This rule comes as the Senate considers the Affordable Health Care Act — the worst legislation for women’s health in a generation. This rule would mean no matter where she works, from private universities to huge, publicly-traded companies, any woman across the country could be denied insurance coverage for birth control based on whether her employer objects to it (“Will Trump kill the ACA contraceptive mandate?” May 31).
Plain and simple, a woman's most basic and personal of decisions — when and if to have a child — could now be impacted by her boss.
It’s no coincidence that this rule comes as an all-male panel of senators meets behind closed doors to determine the future of women’s health care in America. Women's health and lives have been directly in the crosshairs since day one of this administration. It is abhorrent that this administration would directly attack birth control — something that the vast majority of women rely on. This is not about religious liberty — this is about restricting women’s access to basic health care. Out-of-pocket costs for birth control can run hundreds of dollars — extra money that many women simply don't have. Birth control is essential for women’s health and lives, and should never be a decision made by a woman’s employer.
At a time when health care for Marylanders and millions across the country is under threat, I applaud our state champion, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, and 42 of his colleagues who are working to protect women's health care. The Save Women’s Preventive Care Act ensures that being a woman cannot be considered a pre-existing condition and safeguards women’s access to necessary care such as birth control and annual check-ups. It protects access to no-cost preventive health care services that millions have come to rely on. These leaders understand that access to preventive care is fundamental to women’s health and economic success. And they understand we can’t move our country forward while taking more than half our population backward.
The attacks on women’s health are coming from all angles. This attempt to deny access to birth control comes as Congress and this administration are trying to ram through the American Health Care Act — the worst bill for women’s health in a generation — that would block women from coming to Planned Parenthood for basic care, kick millions off their health insurance, and cause premiums to skyrocket. It is clear this administration wants to make it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.
Karen J. Nelson
The writer is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland.
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