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A.G. Schneiderman Leads 16-AG Coalition Opposing Birth Control Rollback

Comments Filed with HHS Follow AG Lawsuit to Protect Access to Birth Control

Over 62.4 Million Women – Including 3.8 Million New Yorkers – Have Benefitted from ACA Contraceptive Coverage

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of 16 Attorneys General in filing comments with the federal Department of Health and Human Services opposing the Trump administration’s interim final rules that would roll back birth control coverage.

The comments follow a federal lawsuit filed by Attorneys General including Attorney General Schneiderman seeking to protect access to birth control.

Click here to read the comments, which were filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The Trump administration’s new rules seek to roll back the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Since the ACA’s requirement to cover contraceptives took effect in 2012, it’s saved American women $1.4 billion. Over 62.4 million women have benefitted from the coverage, including 3.8 million in New York.

In their comments, the Attorneys General argue that the federal rules violate the Establishment Clause by allowing employers to use their own religious beliefs to discriminate against employees; the Equal Protection Clause by specifically targeting and harming women; and the Administrative Procedure Act by pushing through these new rules without proper factual and legal basis. Additionally, the Attorneys General argue that the rules would harm their States by leaving millions of women without access to contraceptives and counseling, and by forcing the States to shoulder the financial and administrative burden as women seek contraceptive access through state programs.

“Since the ACA’s requirement that health plans cover contraception benefits and services, women with employer-sponsored coverage have had increased access to contraception, and have saved $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills in 2013 alone. The share of women of reproductive age who had out-of-pocket spending on oral contraceptive pills fell sharply after the ACA’s implementation; spending on oral contraceptive pills plummeted from 20.9 percent in 2012 to 3.6 percent in 2014, corresponding to the timing of the contraception provision. Also during this time, the proportion of privately insured women who paid no out-of-pocket costs for oral contraception increased from 15 percent to 67 percent, with similar changes for injectable contraceptives, the vaginal ring and the intrauterine device. To date, over 62.4 million women have benefited from ACA-mandated contraceptive coverage,” the Attorneys General wrote.

“The [Interim Final Rules] at issue will result in harms that are both direct and indirect, tangible and intangible. Access to contraception is fundamental to women’s rights to bodily freedom and to emotional autonomy. It is a public health issue, with effects on unintended pregnancy, maternal health, and infant morbidity. It also implicates economic mobility and wage parity, educational opportunity and social equality. These far-reaching effects are too great to ignore, and are protected by the Constitution, our laws and regulations. Accordingly, we urge the Secretary to rescind the IFRs.”