Trump Administration Rolls Back on Obama-era Mandate

The Trump Administration lifted the Obama-era healthcare mandate on October 6. The mandate required employers to provide their female workers insurance coverage for contraceptives.

During the Obama Administration, this policy further polarized both pro- and anti-abortion movements, for conservative-based organizations/companies and employers say that the mandated pushed them to reject their personal religious beliefs, and ultimately their religious freedom.

“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore,” President Trump stated, and since then has upheld his promise in protecting companies from sacrificing their religious liberty while suppressing birth control accessibility for women. Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious organization that had previously challenged Obama’s mandate in the Supreme Court, has consequently praised Trump’s recent move in respect of their religious stances.

According to Planned Parenthood and other women’s rights groups, birth control may be considered to be vital in women’s health besides the sole purpose of pregnancy prevention.

Benefits of contraceptives include reducing iron deficiency, reducing period irregularity, as well as combating acne. With the Obama-era mandate previously in effect, women would have to pay little to none in copayments in order to maintain their reproductive health. Now with that mandate stripped, approximately 55 million women are at risk of losing accessible contraceptive coverage.

Following this controversial policy change, Attorney Generals Bob Ferguson and Xavier Becerra of Washington and California, respectively, have publicly announced the states’ decision to pursue a lawsuit against the Trump administration for undoing the mandate. In his argument, Attorney General Ferguson claims Trump’s rollback infringes the Civil Rights Act: “The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against women based on sex or the capacity to be pregnant,” Ferguson cites. “The rules result in women having less access to reproductive health care, which is discrimination based on their gender.”

In regards to how this new rule change will affect college and NJIT in particular, there are students on campus who are vocal about the Trump administration’s recent move in pushing back birth control coverage and accessibility.

Granted, there are female students who are fully employed who will be directly affected by this newly instated rollback, but there are also female students who aren’t but are still opinionated about the matter.

“I don’t agree on [Trump’s decision] because companies should be secular and should not impose their religious views on women’s reproductive rights,” says first-year Biophysics major Zenit Winfield.

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