The Trump administration’s rule rolling back contraceptive coverage required under the Affordable Care Act is already being challenged in court. Now it faces pushback in Congress.
Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced a bill Thursday to overturn the rule issued by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department last week allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptives by claiming religious or moral objections.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and others, says the rule would not take effect and would be treated as if it never happened.
“President Trump wants to make birth control about ideology, but let’s be clear; for women and their families in the 21st Century, birth control is about being healthy and financially secure, and that’s why Democrats are going to keep fighting back against his shameful attacks on women with this bill and any other way we can,” Murray said in a statement.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a federal lawsuit last week seeking to block the rule. His 30-page complaint said President Trump was discriminating against women, and argued the rule violates the Constitution’s equal-protection clauses and guarantees of religious freedom by allowing the use of religious beliefs to deny women federally entitled health benefits.
Chris Plante, chief operating officer and policy director for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, praised Trump’s action rolling back the birth-control coverage requirement, saying, “We all should have the liberty to work and live in line with our religious beliefs, without fear of government punishment.”