Health

FACT CHECK: Did Trump Roll Back Birth Control Coverage For ‘62.4 MILLION Women’?

Pro-choice activist group NARAL claimed that the Trump Administration “just issued a rule rolling back birth control coverage for 62.4 MILLION women” in a Friday tweet.

“Now your employer can refuse to cover it [birth control] for any reason they see fit,” an image attached to the tweet also claimed.

Verdict: False

NARAL’s claim that 62.4 million women will lose birth control coverage is unfounded.

Fact Check:

The White House under President Donald Trump announced Friday that it would permit employers with moral or religious objections to birth control to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA or Obamacare) mandate that certain-sized employers provide birth control coverage.

Under the original Obamacare framework, employers above a certain size were mandated to provide health insurance to full-time employees and were also mandated to include birth control at no cost for women as part of that health care coverage. (Places of worship were exempted from the mandate.)

The National Women’s Law Center estimates 62.4 million women are covered for birth control without out-of-pocket costs– the same figure NARAL cited in its tweet.

Although employers are no longer bound by Obamacare’s birth control mandate, it is not clear if every (soon previously-mandated) employer in the U.S. will drop birth control coverage. NARAL’s 62.4-million-figure assumes the most extensive case scenario possible for women who gained birth control coverage through Obamacare.

Putting aside headline-making lawsuits involving organizations like crafts store Hobby Lobby and Catholic group Little Sisters Of The Poor that were against the mandate – citing religious and moral convictions – relatively few other organizations or companies have signaled public opposition to covering birth control. Only 52 for-profit or non-profit companies had even applied for an exemption to the birth control mandate as of March 2016, Politico reported.

Past trends do not indicate that NARAL’s 62.4 million number will come to fruition.

The Trump Administration’s new rule only provides exemptions for companies who have moral or religious convictions against financially supporting contraceptives.

Trump’s new rule does enable companies to drop birth control coverage unilaterally without having to apply to the federal government or file a special exemption request; companies do not even have to notify the federal government that they are dropping contraceptive coverage. Companies do, however, have to notify their employees if they opt to cite moral or religious convictions and take the exemption.

Nevertheless, with so few companies having sought exemptions in the past and with a majority of Americans in support of birth control coverage, NARAL’s rationale and estimates do not hold up to the facts. NARAL’s Twitter claims are false.

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