U.S. to limit access to contraceptives
October 08,2017 By:Xinhua
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2017 -- The U.S. government said Friday that it will limit access to contraception drugs, raising a debate between liberals and conservatives over women's rights.
The new rule announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allows more employers and insurers to cite religious or moral beliefs to avoid providing free contraceptives to women.
The new rule is both an undercut to the Affordable Care Act and a move to appeal to social conservatives, who make up the chunk of the voter base for U.S. President Donald Trump and are mostly against contraception.
"The president believes that the freedom to practice one's faith is a fundamental right in this country," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told a press briefing.
The move immediately drew criticism from Democrats, who say the new rule infringes on women's rights.
"This administration's contempt for women reaches a new low with this appalling decision to enable employers and health plans to deny women basic coverage for contraception," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
HHS officials said they do not have a precise prediction on how many women face losing free access to contraceptives, but estimated that the number will be about 120,000, and leave "99.9 percent of women" with free birth control with their insurance.
The prediction is based on how many entities have filed lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act clause that says providing free contraceptives is mandatory.