Trump officials roll back birth control mandate

Oct 6, 2017

By Jessie Hellmann

The Trump administration on Friday rolled back an ObamaCare requirement that employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

Under highly anticipated rules published Friday, any employer or insurer can stop following the birth control mandate on moral and religious grounds. The rules take effect immediately.

ObamaCare mandated that employers, with a few exceptions, offer health insurance that covers birth control without a co-pay.

The rules approved Friday allow any employer, including colleges, universities and health insurance companies, to stop following the mandate. Previously, only houses of worship and some companies could be exempt.

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10 comments on “Trump officials roll back birth control mandate

  • @OP – ObamaCare mandated that employers, with a few exceptions,
    offer health insurance that covers birth control without a co-pay.

    The rules approved Friday allow any employer,
    including colleges, universities and health insurance companies,
    to stop following the mandate.
    Previously, only houses of worship and some companies could be exempt.

    With religious biased faith-thinkers and their political stooges, – Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile!

    It was very stupid to allow exemptions in the first place!

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  • Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate
    (From The New York Times)

    “WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday moved to expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception and issued sweeping guidance on religious freedom that critics said could also erode civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    The twin actions, by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department, were meant to carry out a promise issued by President Trump five months ago, when he declared in the Rose Garden that as Trump said:

    “we will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.”

    [But it is OK to allow churches to bully and silence anyone who wants to use contraceptives!]

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted those words in issuing guidance to federal agencies and prosecutors, instructing them to take the position in court that workers, employers and organizations may claim broad exemptions from nondiscrimination laws on the basis of religious objections.

    More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose those benefits.”

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  • Religious liberty? So what if a Christian Scientist decides to deny coverage of any kind to anyone? They don’t believe in doctors. That’s their faith. What if one’s holy book tells one that atheists are not fit to live and therefore should be denied health benefits (which would keep them healthy and alive)? Where does it end? It’s all BULLLLLSHIT!

    I hope it goes to the Supreme Court. Wait, they have that schmuck that Trump nominated now. Forgot his name. Now if Kennedy retires or croaks then we’re really screwed.

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  • Meanwhile, I see that in the more educated and civilised areas, people seeking medical services are being protected from interfering bigots and delusional busy-bodies!

    An “unprecedented” ban on protesters outside abortion clinics could be introduced in a London borough.

    Councillors in Ealing overwhelmingly backed a proposal to stop anti-abortion groups protesting outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the borough.

    Binda Rai, who brought the motion, said it would allow women to access “legal healthcare without intimidation”.

    The Good Counsel Network, which holds daily vigils outside the centre in Mattock Lane, denies harassing women.

    The council motion said 3,593 residents signed a petition, delivered by campaign group Sister Supporter, backing the move.

    It said dozens also wrote letters describing “disruption and distress” caused by the protesters.

    Speaking after the vote, Ms Rai said there could be “national implications”, and that Ealing could be the first council to take action against protesters outside abortion clinics.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled that there was such huge support in the chamber for the motion, and right across the parties,” she said.

    “It was really good. And this is really a stand for women, and for women’s rights to access healthcare that is legally available to them.”

    She said the council may use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPOs), which give councils the power to crack down on perceived anti-social behaviour.

    Richard Bentley, managing director of Marie Stopes UK, hailed the decision as “ground-breaking”.

    “We hope that other local authorities will follow this example and act to increase protection for women in their area,” he said.

    A spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said it welcomed the vote result and urged the government to introduce legislation banning protests at all clinics.

    “The situation in Ealing is sadly not unique, and women and clinic staff across the country report being followed, filmed, and harassed when trying to access or provide legal healthcare services.

    “This has to stop,” he said.

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  • I see that medical services in Canada are also being protected from interference by the dogma befuddled, assertive biological illiterates!

    A Canadian province is tabling legislation that would make it illegal to protest outside abortion clinics.

    Ontario’s attorney general announced on Thursday that the government will introduce the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act.

    If passed, the legislation would create “safe access zones” around abortion clinics as well as the homes of staff.

    Anti-abortion activists would not be allowed to protest within at least 50m (164ft) of a clinic or staff residence.

    British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador have already enacted safe access zone laws.

    “Our government is standing up for every woman’s right to choose, and protecting the safety of abortion service providers,” said Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in a news release.

    “The proposed safe access zones would mean that patients, visitors and staff are able to enter and depart from clinics and facilities that provide abortion services in a manner that protects their safety, security, health and privacy.”

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  • Back in the USA to attacks on health services for the poor, continue despite the failures of legislators to reach agreement!

    US President Donald Trump will end subsidies to health insurance providers designed to help low income households, as he continues his attempts to dismantle Obamacare.

    The White House announced the move hours after Mr Trump signed an executive order allowing the sale of health insurance plans which are exempt from some of the law’s regulations.

    The announcements come after Congress repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare.

    They were instantly criticised.

    Democrat Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement denouncing the end of subsidies as a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage” which would harm the poorest citizens.

    Meanwhile, critics of the initial announcement argued it could de-stabilise the Obamacare market by encouraging healthy consumers to leave their current plans, prompting a spike in premium costs for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.

    But Mr Trump says his plans will provide “relief” for people struggling to afford the rising costs, adding that ending the subsidies would “fix” the “imploding” Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act.

    So – more of the usual Trump rhetorical drivel, as a substitute for real functioning services to citizens!

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  • According to “The Guardian”, it seems that the 25th amendment is being discussed in US senior Republican circles, but basically the Democrats will have to work hard at the mid-term elections!

    Yes, Trump can be removed from the US presidency. Here’s how

    ** ‘As Republican senator Bob Corker put it, ‘I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.’’**

    The bar is set so low for Donald Trump that every day he doesn’t trigger a nuclear confrontation with a distant adversary is seen as a bonus.
    Today was one such day, as Trump signalled that he would not, after all, tear up the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as many – including his closest lieutenants – once feared he would.

    Those doing the containing are the highest ranking officials in the administration, handily abbreviated as MMTK: national security adviser HR McMaster; defence secretary James Mattis; secretary of state Rex Tillerson; and chief of staff John Kelly. Three are former generals, who have concluded that it is their patriotic duty to save America from their president.

    Republican senator Bob Corker, chair of the senate foreign relations committee, describes Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson as the “people that help separate our country from chaos”. As he put it, “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”

    All these moves, coupled with the sight of Corker – a conservative Republican from conservative Tennessee – breaking ranks have led to fevered talk – and hope – that things might be coming to a head, that the Republican dam might be about to break.

    It has been fuelled by Tillerson’s failure to deny that he had referred to the president as a “fucking moron”. (Apparently Tillerson was incensed by Trump’s desire, expressed during a White House briefing, to increase America’s already massive nuclear arsenal tenfold – as if the ability to destroy the world several times over is not enough.) This week another Republican senator asked Trump if he was recanting his oath of office, in which he had promised to “preserve, protect and defend” the constitution.
    Hours earlier, Trump had trampled on the first amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, by saying: “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” Trump then called for broadcaster NBC to be stripped of its operating “licence”. Never mind that such a thing does not exist: it’s the thought that counts.

    The notion that Trump’s own party is about to turn on him is not solely wishful thinking by his opponents or the liberal media. Steve Bannon, who exited the White House in August, is said to have told Trump he had only a 30% chance of serving out his full term. Bannon warned his undoing could be the 25th amendment to the constitution. To which Trump naturally replied: “What’s that?”

    It’s the section that provides for a situation in which the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. If the vice-president and a majority of the cabinet declare Trump unable to do his job, and Congress agrees, they have the power to remove him. Which is why the question of Trump’s mental capacity has suddenly gained traction.

    Note this week’s depiction of Trump by Vanity Fair as “unravelling” – a lonely, “increasingly unfocused” figure, raging that he hates everyone in the White House. Note too the comments of Trump’s ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, who tweeted this week: “I know this man. He’s out of control and it’s getting worse … Trump’s grip on reality is spiralling down into paranoia and delusion.”

    As a fantasy, the 25th amendment has tremendous appeal: who wouldn’t want to end this presidency, swiftly and cleanly? But it is itself a delusion.
    Can you imagine the current US cabinet, stuffed as it is with sycophants and billionaire know-nothings, turning on their patron for the sake of the country and the world?
    Several are in trouble for billing the US taxpayer for the needless use of private jets; one is currently being taunted for insisting that, in the manner of Queen Elizabeth, a flag be raised whenever he is in residence. Selfless patriots they are not.

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  • I see that in the UK, action is being taken by central government, to circumvent local legislative bigoted ignorance in Northern Ireland, where the main Stormont Assembly political question, seems to be how to set up a balance between a Protestant theocracy and a Catholic theocracy! –
    Needless to say – with the benefit of “faith-thinking”, the “power-sharing” NI Stormont Government Assembly, has been deadlocked for months!

    The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal arguing Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are incompatible with international human rights.

    The court will decide if refusing abortions in cases of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormalities breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The appeal has been brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).

    In the mean time Women in Northern Ireland are being offered abortion service in England and Wales.

    A government offer to help Northern Ireland women access free abortions in England is being extended to cover travel costs in some “hardship” cases.

    Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland, except in very limited cases, and hundreds of women travel across the Irish Sea for terminations each year.

    In June, the Westminster government said NI women would no longer have to pay to have NHS abortions in England.

    The government’s plans were announced by Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, in a written statement to the House of Commons.

    She reiterated that the move does not change the ban on abortion in Northern Ireland, which remains a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide.

    Under the plans, Northern Ireland patients would be entitled to opt for:

    A consultation with an abortion provider in England
    A free abortion procedure
    HIV or sexually transmitted infection testing as appropriate;
    An offer of contraception
    Support with travel costs - if financial hardship criteria are met

    Women on low incomes, in receipt of less than approximately £15,300 per year – will be eligible for support.

    Since the change came into effect in June, England’s three main abortion providers have not been charging Northern Ireland residents who undergo terminations.

    Those clinics are set to be reimbursed for their expenses to date by the state.

    The government has now invited English clinics to apply for funding under the new grant scheme, which will extend their services to patients travelling from Northern Ireland.

    Ms Greening said: “The cost of this service will be met by the Government Equalities Office, with additional funding provided by HM Treasury.”

    As part of the grants process, one abortion provider will be chosen to run a “central booking service” which Ms Greening said would “simplify the process”.

    “It means that women from Northern Ireland will have a single telephone number to call and an appointment will be made with the most appropriate provider,” the minister added.

    The new system is expected to be in place before the end of this year.

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  • In the UK, as well as provisions to free women from Northern Irish bigots, I see Scotland is taking the lead in setting a more relaxed attitude!

    Women in Scotland are the first in the UK to be allowed to take the abortion pill at home.

    Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has written to all health boards to say the drug misoprostol can be taken by women outside of a clinical setting.

    The change brings Scotland in line with other countries such as Sweden and France.

    The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been lobbying to change the law in the UK for years.

    There were 12,063 terminations of pregnancy in Scotland in 2016 and almost three-quarters (73.5%) were carried out at less than nine weeks gestation.

    The vast majority of these early terminations (89.4%) were medical rather than surgical procedures.

    The medical treatment involves taking two different medicines.

    The first tablet, called Mifepristone, blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy.

    The second tablet, called Misoprostol, can be given on the same day, or 24, 48 or 72 hours apart.

    Not all women are suitable for a medical abortion, although they may still be suitable for a surgical abortion.

    The change in Scotland would mean the second tablet Misoprostol – would be administered in a clinical setting but could be taken by women at home.

    Within an hour of taking misoprostol women often experience heavy bleeding – usually on the way home from the clinic.

    This is a particular concern for women in Scotland who often have to travel long distances to access abortion and maternity services.

    The Scottish government said it was making the changes under existing abortion powers.

    Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Abortion can be an emotive subject – however I am proud this government is working hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services.

    “Scotland is now the only part of the UK to offer women the opportunity to take misoprostol at home when this is clinically appropriate, a decision that allows women to be in control of their treatment and as comfortable as possible during this procedure.”

    Ann Furedi, chief executive of the BPAS, welcomed the decision.

    She said: “This will spare women not only the difficulties associated with having to make more than one clinic visit – childcare, transport, time off work – but it will also spare women from the risk of symptoms on their way home, having taken the medication in a clinic.”

    “It is simply perverse that a woman arriving at a BPAS clinic in England and Wales with an incomplete miscarriage can be given the medication to take in the comfort and privacy of her own home, while a woman seeking an abortion must take that same medication on site.

    “We hope that the government will follow Scotland’s lead and roll out this important policy change across the rest of Great Britain.”

    For some reason, the BBC felt the need to add the false balance of some confused irrational garbage from some ignorant woo-head to the linked article, but it is not worth repeating!

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