Massachusetts to Sue Trump Over Birth Control Rules Rollback

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is planning to sue the Trump administration for allowing more employers to opt out of providing birth control coverage by claiming religious or moral objections.

The Democrat on Friday called the actions "a direct attack on women's health and the right to access affordable and reliable contraception."

Healey said it places the religious beliefs of employers above a woman's right to care for her body.

The rules announced Friday are another step in rolling back former President Obama's 2010 health care law by targeting requirements that most companies cover birth control as preventive care for women at no additional cost.

Healey said her office will sue "to stop this rule and defend critical protections for millions of women in Massachusetts and across the country."

A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he "fully supports access to women's health and family planning services and will protect access to these services in Massachusetts." She said Baker supports compromise language submitted this week by Massachusetts insurers, Planned Parenthood and legislators to protect health care access to women.

Democratic lawmakers from across New England were quick to condemn Trump's decision.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a frequent foe of Trump's, blasted the president's move and said she's "ready to fight back."

"News flash to Republicans: The year is 2017, not 1917," she said. "Evidently, the Republicans believe that the single most important issue facing our nation is to change the law so that employers can deny women access to birth control coverage."

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy called the action "an affront to women's healthcare - and a slap in the face to millions of women who rely on birth control as part of their health needs."

Sen. Christopher Murphy of Connecticut said he's "sick and tired" of Republicans trying to take away women's health care. "It's 2017 - women should be able to get birth control if they want it, no matter where they work."

"Rolling back full coverage, with no out of pocket costs, for birth control is a direct attack on women’s access to health care and on their right to make their own health care decisions," added Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

Fellow New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called the move "dangerous" and said it "reflects a shallow understanding of women's health."

"I am outraged by the Trump Administration's most sweeping attack yet on women's access to health care," Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire said. "We must defeat this rule and make it clear to President Trump that women and men reject this interference in access to birth control."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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