Did you know that, by federal rule which has been upheld in the courts, employers and insurers have had to provide birth control as part of preventive care for women? And that that's been the case since 2000, throughout the Bush administration? Lost in the firestorm the far-right has started, and that the traditional media can't resist blowing up, is the fact that coverage of prescription contraception is remarkably run-of-the mill and has been controversy-free for over a decade.
Mother Jones reports:
In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today ...The only thing that's changed in the mandate is that the coverage be provided a no cost, like all the other preventive care programs covered by the Affordable Care Act. Well, that's the only thing that's changed in terms of the policy. That, and that now 90 percent of employer-based plans offer contraceptive coverage. Oh, and that President Obama's plan allows for an exemption for religious institutions. The EEOC ruling does not, and nary a peep has been raised about that in 12 years.
"It was, we thought at the time, a fairly straightforward application of Title VII principles," a top former EEOC official who was involved in the decision told Mother Jones. "All of these plans covered Viagra immediately, without thinking, and they were still declining to cover prescription contraceptives. It's a little bit jaw-dropping to see what is going on now…There was some press at the time but we issued guidances that were far, far more controversial."
What's really changed is that this expansion of the rule was done by a Kenyan Muslim socialist president.