Democratic congresswomen on Wednesday urged the Trump administration to rethink a leaked draft proposal that would allow any employer to opt out of Obamacare's requirement for all insurers to cover contraception.
"Contraception is healthcare that is essential to many but not affordable to all," they said in an emailed statement. "That is why the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate matters so much – it makes access a reality."
The statement, by Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Louise Slaughter of New York, Suzan DelBene of Washington, and Judy Chu, Barbara Lee and Jackie Speier of California, noted that the percentage of women who had to pay out of pocket for contraception dropped from 20 percent to 4 percent after Obamacare began.
"Affordable access to contraception is part of why unintended pregnancy and abortion rates are at an historic low," they wrote. "But with this interim final rule, President Trump is threatening to roll back all of that progress by giving any employer veto power over a woman's healthcare decisions. And let's be clear: This is an attack on women's health. This rule would subject a woman's choice and the opinion of her doctor to the whims and judgments of her employer."
They asked the president to rethink the proposal, first leaked by Vox, before publishing the final rule, and reiterated a request that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, meet with them to discuss women's health issues.
The Obamacare mandate has been controversial for some employers. It requires insurers to cover one of each type of contraception that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including birth control pills, long-acting contraception such as intrauterine devices and emergency contraception, without any co-pay for patients. Some employers with strong religious beliefs have objected to covering some forms of contraception because they liken them to an abortion, and the mandate went before the Supreme Court under former President Barack Obama, when the agency was told to come up with a workaround. It went before the Supreme Court again in 2016 and is unresolved as justices sent the case back to the lower courts.