The "birth control mandate" that has been spawning lawsuits since the early days of ObamaCare could be history as soon as Friday. President Trump, in a move that could affect millions of women, is planning to get rid of the requirement for employers to cover birth control in their health plans, the New York Times reports. Trump plans to allow exemptions for any employer that has moral or religious objections to paying for birth control. This would fulfill a campaign promise he made to conservative groups, but it would result in large numbers of women losing contraception benefits that they now receive at no cost.
The Trump administration argues that the mandate could lead to "risky sexual behavior" among young people—and that the government already runs programs that subsidize birth control for low-income women. The issue was at the heart of the Hobby Lobby legal battle, which resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that allowed exemptions only for companies with very few shareholders. The National Women's Law Center says it will challenge the Trump administration move in court. For women who lose coverage, "it means choosing between preventive care like contraceptives and paying their rent, their mortgage, electric bill," Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the center, tells the Washington Post. (Read more birth control stories.)