For now, it seems that the Trump administration cannot keep people in at least 13 states from accessing free employer-provided birth control under the Affordable Care Act. This is because, on Sunday, a federal judge blocked rules established by the administration that allowed for a wide range of employers to claim exemption from providing contraception coverage to their employees.
It used to be that only religious groups had the choice to opt out of coverage by citing their “sincerely held” religious objections. But in 2017, Trump’s fanatical, regressive, and sexist regime decided the more, the merrier—and allowed schools and universities, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to join the party. The exemptions were supposed to go into effect on Monday, but several states filed lawsuits opposing them and were granted an injunction to stop them as their lawsuits move forward. The states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state, along with Washington, D.C.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam's order — which applies only to the plaintiffs and not the rest of the country — found that there are "serious questions" about whether the new rules violate President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which stipulated that employer insurance plans must provide birth control services at no cost.
What another painful reminder of the difference between the Obama administration and Trump’s. The former included birth control as a fundamental part of health care, while the latter tries to punish and control women—all the while giving their employers the right to weigh in on personal decisions about reproduction. Whatever happened to Republicans supposedly being the party of individual freedom? That clearly doesn’t apply when it comes to their views on women and the bastardized versions of religion that they practice. They want women seen and not heard, barefoot and pregnant and subservient to all the men around them.
These rules are punitive, and they will impact access to birth control around the country. According to NBC News, most Americans get their health insurance through employer-provided coverage. And if employers stop paying for contraception, many people may not be able to afford it. Reproductive care is absolutely a part of health care, and should be considered as such across the board.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the nonprofit political arm of Planned Parenthood, said Sunday: "Birth control IS health care — no matter what the Trump-Pence administration thinks or whether your boss agrees with it."
This is a victory for sure, but it remains a temporary one. The new rules go into effect in other parts of the country on Monday, and the administration will likely continue to do all it can to keep people from having access to contraception and the ability to make their own reproductive decisions. Republicans used to be the party of small government. But they’ll gladly allow the government to put limits on your individual freedom to make decisions about your own body, and to give your boss a say in those decisions.