Women choose family planning for different reasons. Some have all the children they want, and birth control lets them continue to care for the children they already have. Others want to space their children safely, so that it’s healthy for them and the baby. There are women for whom any pregnancy is dangerous. And some women don’t want to be mothers. Whatever the reason, doctors can help women choose the right option.
For many women in the US, cost has not prevented them from choosing the type of contraception they want. Rules made pursuant to the Affordable Care Act require employers to ensure that the health insurance they offer their employees includes full coverage for a range of preventative services, including contraceptive care. Millions of women in the United States have access to free birth control as a result.
In October, that changed. The Trump administration issued two rules that allow nearly any employer to claim religious or moral objections to birth control, exempting themselves from having to provide contraceptive coverage in their employee health insurance plans. The rules came into effect immediately.
Because so many US workers rely on employer-provided health coverage, this means that an employer’s religious or moral objections can serve to block a woman’s access to reproductive health care.
Not only was this a shocking move, it also undermines women’s human rights. Denying women contraceptive coverage out of deference to the religious and moral convictions of their employers will harm women, and negatively affect their health and well-being. The rules discriminate against women and also undermine their rights protected under international law, including the right to non-discrimination, to health, and the right to decide on the number and spacing of their children.
Today, Human Rights Watch joins organizations around the United States in formally opposing these rules.
By law, everyone has an opportunity to raise their objections to these regulations. But the deadline is today. Please join Human Rights Watch and thousands of others to demand that the Trump administration rescind them.