Birth Control Benefit
In this episode, Mara Gandal-Powers with the National Women’s Law Center talks to us about the Affordable Care Act’s momentous birth control benefit, which allows women to access contraception without a co-pay.
While the benefit has allowed 55 million women to receive birth control without extra out of pocket cots, it has been challenged along the way. When the benefit was first put into effect, a narrow exemption existed for churches and houses or worship, eventually evolving to include other religiously-affiliated non-profits or institutions that were headed by employers with a religious objection to birth control coverage. The Obama administration required that women seeking birth control and who were employed by an organization under religious accommodation would be able obtain birth control coverage directly from the insurance company. The podcast then discusses two of the major birth control benefit cases that went to the Supreme Court: Burwell v Hobby Lobby and Zubik v Burwell.
In October 2017, the administration rolled back the ACA birth control mandate by allowing any employer or insurer, who may have a “religious or moral objection” to birth control, to stop providing birth control coverage. California, Washington, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits with the administration and its decision to roll back the benefit. The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Center for Reproductive Rights have also filed lawsuits.
Since recording this podcast episode:
Federal judges in both Pennsylvania and California have issued orders to temporarily block the Trump administration’s rollback of the ACA birth control benefit. The subject of basic healthcare for women is now facing intense legal battles.
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