State Backlash Grows Against Trump's Birth Control Rollback

by | October 13, 2017 AT 10:20 AM

By Marie McCullough

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Wednesday became the latest to sue the Trump administration over its move to roll back the Affordable Care Act's birth control coverage mandate.

"Millions of women could be denied needed contraceptive care against the advice of science, public health and medical professionals," Shapiro said during a press conference held at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania's clinic on Locust Street in Philadelphia.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires employer-sponsored health insurance plans to cover all forms of contraception with no co-pay. The law allows a few exemptions for employers who claim religious or moral objections.

Last Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive that would let many more employers, including colleges, universities, and health insurance companies, deny birth control coverage on moral grounds.

In response, the attorneys general of California, Washington, and Massachusetts filed suit.

Shapiro's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, echoes the other legal challenges. Among other claims, the lawsuit says the new rule is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state, and allows employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex. It also violates federal rules requiring the government to seek public input before changing policy.

Some conservative and religious groups praised Trump's action to roll back contraceptive benefits.

But Dayle Steinberg, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, on Wednesday denounced it as yet another attempt by President Trump to undo President Obama's signature healthcare legislation.

"Attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, so now this shameful Trump Administration is taking a back-door approach to limit access to basic health care," Steinberg said. "We commend our state officials, Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for standing up to these attacks and protecting women in Pennsylvania."