Washington state rules may protect birth control coverage

President Trump on Friday allowed more companies to stop providing cost-free birth control in the medical insurance they buy. The new rule expands the narrow religious exemptions created by the Obama administration and a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

We got reaction from Chris Plante of the Family Policy Institute in Lynnwood.

“It is a big change. This is President Trump fulfilling his promise to protect religious liberties here in the United States,” Plante said.

Sara Ainsworth of Legal Voice told us this discriminates against women.

“We do have freedom of conscience in this country. And this extends to the individual employees who are attending university or working for an employer. They also have the right to follow their conscience.”

Ainsworth says women may now have to pay thousands more for birth control during their childbearing years if their insurance won't cover it.

“This ends up having a much greater impact on women in a way that's simply not comparable to men's health coverage," she added.

Ainsworth says there's a state rule that protects women in our state.

“We have a contraceptive equity rule through our insurance office that requires employers who do have religious objection to make sure that their women employees still have access to birth control coverage.”

Plante says women in our state will continue to have access to birth control from organizations like Planned Parenthood.

“This is not an issue of access to contraception at all. What it is, is an issue of are we going to protect the First Amendment rights of business owners to say this is how I'm going to run my business."

The Washington Insurance Commissioner’s Office is scrutinizing the new rule for its possible effects on Washington state.

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