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Birth Control Access

A critical tenet of Americans’ access to birth control is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires health insurance plans to provide full coverage of all birth control methods as part of preventative care coverage since 2012. Since then, religious organizations and employers with religious objections to the mandate have won exemptions through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies, as well as from Supreme Court victories. During this time, multiple anti-abortion, anti-birth control lawyers and advocates — many of whom are now key officials at Trump’s HHS — were working to roll back the mandate in the name of religious freedom.

Following a May 2017 White House executive order targeting birth control coverage, HHS put forth two interim rules to roll back the ACA’s contraceptive mandate in October 2017. One rule enabled employers to claim exemptions for religious reasons; the other set up exemptions for “sincerely held moral convictions.” In November 2018, the department published final versions of these rules, formally allowing employers to deny insurance coverage of birth control on moral and religious grounds.