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Trump Administration Reverses Obama-Era Policies on Religious Freedom

Trump Administration Reverses Obama-Era Policies on Religious Freedom

The new rules, drafted mainly by political appointees at the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, seek "to better balance the interests" of women with those of employers and insurers that have conscientious objections to contraceptive coverage.

He said he expects most companies will continue to provide coverage for birth control and that the changes will only affect a tiny percentage of US women. Religiously affiliated nonprofits have already been able to avoid directly providing contraceptive coverage, but they objected to employees still having access to birth control through their insurance companies.

Liberty Counsel filed the first private lawsuit against ObamaCare the day it was signed into law in 2010.

"With this rule, the Trump administration is taking direct aim at birth control coverage for more than 62 million women", Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president for Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.

Widely known as the HHS contraceptive mandate, the requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services, was one of the most controversial elements of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010.

Under the accommodation process, experts argued, the act of notifying the government of their objection would still cause the provision of contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortion-causing drugs through their health plans, which would violate religious principles.

The action by the Trump administration is nearly certain to spark fresh litigation.

ISIS releases recorded message purportedly from Baghdadi
US -backed Iraqi forces have since defeated Islamic State in Mosul, where Baghdadi declared a self-styled caliphate three years ago.


"For more than five years, the HHS contraception mandate has forced Americans to violate their deeply held moral and ethical principles, without regard for the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty", said Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN, a Catholic television and media organization.

"President Trump and the Department of Justice are putting federal government agencies on notice: you will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to those beliefs".

Becerra said he several other attorneys general are considering filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration to have the rule tossed. Some of the cases reached the Supreme Court and were the object of nationwide attention, such as the Hobby Lobby ruling in 2014.

The so-called "HHS mandate" had narrow exemptions for churches and houses of worship.

This rule would significantly overhaul the birth control mandate as it had been implemented by the Obama administration.

For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children.

Although women are entitled to coverage for birth control at no cost under the ACA, these rules will effectively deny thousands of women coverage based on the personal objections of their employers, universities, or insurers. "This backwards move is the latest in a long list of unconscionable steps taken by an Administration apparently unconcerned with the financial, physical, and psychological wellbeing of millions of American women and their families", Blumenthal said in a statement on Friday. "In particular, people of color, low-income individuals, youth, immigrants, rural residents, and LGBTQ populations will be disproportionately impacted by this new federal restriction on reproductive health care". The nuns had sued the Obama administration over the birth control requirement.


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