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Trump’s Proposed Birth Control Rollback Could Deny Coverage For Thousands of Women

A new rule drafted by the Trump administration covering the government's contraception coverage mandate could deny birth control benefits to the hundreds of millions of American women who receive them at no cost under the current Affordable Care Act.

This means thousands of employers and insurers could deny women coverage by claiming a moral or religious objection.

Although not yet final, the new, 34,000-word plan would go into effect the moment it’s published in the Federal Register.

Read More: #SheDecides: Meet the Real Women Under Threat From Trump’s Attacks on Women’s Health

This could put over 55 million women who have access to birth control without out-of-pocket costs at risk. In 2013, the mandate had saved women across the nation a whopping $1.4 billion on birth control pills, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Five years of lawsuits filed by priests, nuns, hospitals, charitable organizations, advocacy groups, colleges, and universities convinced the Trump administration that a change was needed. Appointees at the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies who drafted the rule have called studies that show the success rate of contraceptives against unintended pregnancies “insufficient.”

In 2014 the U.S. abortion rate was at its lowest since Roe v. Wade in 1973 — a drop that many researchers have accredited to the wider availability of birth control.

Read More: Trump Targets Women's Healthcare in One of First Actions as President

Instead, writers of the new rule dismissed the link between the two, emphasizing that, “as contraception became available and its use increased, teen sexual activity outside of marriage likewise increased.”

The change is being considered by the administration under the idea of “religious freedom.”

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, called it a “sickening plan to roll back women’s access to contraception.”

Other politicians, healthcare professionals, and women’s reproductive rights lobbyists have also criticized the plan.

“We are deeply concerned about the reports,” said Dr. Anne Davis, Consulting Medical Director of Physicians for Reproductive Health. “Contraception is a key part of preventative care for women. Insurance coverage for contraception, now covered the Affordable Care Act without extra fees, preserves health and well-being in countless ways.”