(Press Release) In a massive public comment submission effort, the Center for Reproductive Rights, along with more than a dozen leading reproductive and civil rights organizations, members of Congress, and allies delivered over a half-million public comments on behalf of individuals from all 50 states to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The comments oppose the Trump administration’s recent interim final rules to restrict access to birth control by creating a broad exemption allowing virtually any employer or university with a religious or moral objection to refuse to cover contraception for their employees or students.
On the last day of the public comment period on the rules, representatives from the Center for Reproductive Rights, Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign, Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for American Progress (CAP), Catholics for Choice, CREDO, Generation Progress, National Abortion Federation (NAF), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), National Partnership for Women &, Families, Population Connection, Power to Decide (formerly The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy), UltraViolet, National Council of Jewish Women and NARAL Pro-Choice America joined individual commenters in reading aloud public comments in response to the administration’s action that have threatened to push vital healthcare coverage out of reach for countless women. Also joining them were Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who are both staunch advocates of reproductive healthcare access.
The groups are submitting comments from over 526,000 nationwide, including nearly 100,000 collected by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The comments urged politicians to keep their #HandsOffMyBC and made clear how the discriminatory and unconstitutional rules jeopardize one of the most important advancements for women’s health and robs women of their ability to control their lives and futures. Additional comments have been submitted directly to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury.
“These rules are offensive and are about denying women our right to make decisions about our health and our lives,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The ability to decide whether and when to have children is a fundamental right, and more than 99 percent of women have used contraception at some point in their lives. Today, hundreds of thousands of people across the country made it known that women will wholeheartedly challenge any infringement on our rights.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, women were guaranteed coverage for birth control with no copay. Over 62.4 million women have gained guaranteed coverage of preventive services without co-pays, including birth control. Access to contraceptives benefits women’s health and enables them to pursue their educational and professional goals.