5 Experts On Why Limiting Access To Free Birth Control Is Terrible For Women

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
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One of the major benefits to women under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is the birth control mandate, which made birth control available under insurance with no co-pay. It’s counted as a preventive service and, honestly, what could be more preventive than birth control? Since 2011, women of reproductive age have been able to control whether or not they want to have a baby at no extra cost. Dope, right? Well, the Trump administration may be taking that away again.

Under the ACA, religious employers are allowed to choose not to pay for birth control — but that’s pretty much limited only to houses of worship who didn’t employ anyone of a different faith or “closely held” private institutions, like Hobby Lobby. It’s not easy to qualify for the exemption and, as a result, most companies are required to cover birth control. And even if a company does qualify, health insurers are still required to cover the cost of employee’s birth control.

But according to leaked documents obtained by Vox, the Trump administration is proposing expanding the current religious exemption law for birth control, making it much, much easier for anyone to refuse to cover birth control based on religious grounds. Basically, any company — from the local mom and pop to universities to major corporations — could say “I have a moral objection!” and they wouldn’t have to cover birth control anymore. Under the draft rule, they wouldn’t even have to tell the government they weren’t covering it, although they would be required to tell employees.

The draft proposal hasn’t been published — the document was obtained by Vox, so it’s not a law yet. However, if the draft is finalized and published as is, it will go into effect immediately and will potentially strip far too many women of access to free birth control. Sound terrible? It is. Here’s what four women’s health experts think of the leaked birth control mandate changes.

1What Planned Parenthood Thinks

2What Advocacy Experts Think

3What Doctors Think