In 2014, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that ‘closely-held corporations’ like Hobby Lobby could use the religious beliefs of the individuals in charge to strike birth control coverage from employee health plans, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned, in her famously fiery 35-page dissent in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, that such a “radical” repurposing of a law originally designed to preserve religious freedom, would introduce “havoc,” Erin Gloria Ryan reminds us.
Trump’s new rule “only applies to religious and morality-based objections to female contraception. It does not apply to other things a religion may find morally objectionable, like psychiatric drugs, blood transfusions, or Viagra,” notes Ryan.
Boy, was she right. A sneak peak at Trump’s long-promised rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate shows that the new rule would allow any employer or university to opt out of providing birth control to their employees or students by citing religious objection.
“Once the Office of Budget Management approves the final version of the rule and posts it to the Federal Register, the regulation will go into effect,” Ryan points out.
What’s more, an employer is not required to formally register its objection with the government before ending cutting off contraception coverage—even if birth control was prescribed to a woman for reasons other than prevention of pregnancy.