Your Statewide Voice for Family Planning
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For Immediate Release
Maine Law Protects Women from Trump Administration’s Latest Attack
Despite Federal Roll-Back of Birth Control Coverage Requirement,
Employers Still Subject to State Contraceptive Equity Law
Today the Trump administration issued its latest salvo against women, issuing a rule that makes it easier for employers to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control mandate. Thankfully, Maine women are protected from this attack by state law.
A key provision of the ACA is the requirement that all health insurance policies meet a baseline level of coverage, including things like hospitalization, prescription medication, mental health services, and family planning services. Opponents of family planning have challenged the inclusion of contraceptive care as part of these essential health benefits, arguing that employers should be able to deny their employees coverage based on the employer’s beliefs.
Under the new rule unveiled Friday, which would allow a broader swath of companies and organizations to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage based on religious or “moral” objections, hundreds of thousands of women nationwide could lose common-sense birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the ACA.
But employers in Maine be warned: Maine women are protected by the state’s contraceptive equity law, which provides a very narrow exclusion for religious employers, defined as churches, associations of churches, and religious schools.
Furthermore, the state requires employers to apply for such an exemption—whereas the Trump administration rule would allow employers to simply yank birth control benefits without filing any notice.
Maine employers are still subject to the state law.
"Maine law recognizes that contraceptives are no different than any other health care, and requires insurers and employers to treat them as such,” said George Hill, President and CEO of Maine Family Planning. “For this reason, we believe Maine women and teens are protected from the Trump administration’s latest attempt to strip them of critical health care benefits. Sadly, though not surprisingly, the announcement today is further evidence of the Trump administration's comprehensive hostility to women."
About Maine Family Planning
Maine Family Planning works to ensure that all Maine people have access to high-quality, affordable reproductive health care, comprehensive sexual health education, and the right to control their reproductive lives. Maine Family Planning provides reproductive health care at 18 clinics in Maine, partners with schools to provide comprehensive sexuality education, and works with legislators, community leaders, and other organizations committed to advancing the cause of reproductive freedom in Maine. For more information, visit www.mainefamilyplanning.org.