Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined today 34 Senate and House Democrats in introducing the Protect Access to Birth Control Act, legislation to rescind the Trump Administration’s interim final rules issued on October 6th that allow companies to interfere in their employees’ health care choices and force women to pay more for an essential part of their health care.
If enacted, the Protect Access to Birth Control Act would ensure President Donald Trump’s rules have no force or effect, safeguarding women’s continued access to contraceptive coverage.
“The Trump Administration’s directive to restrict women’s access to birth control shows how set President Trump and his allies are on dragging modern America back to a time when patronizing, anti-women policies, like the ones proposed by this Administration, were the norm,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This backwards policy suggests that women cannot decide for themselves on issues pertaining to their bodies. That is why I am proud to join my congressional colleagues in cosponsoring the Protect Access to Birth Control Act. We need to express loud and clear that reproductive health care decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor, not men in Washington.”
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), preventive health care, including the full range of FDA-approved contraception, must be covered without out of pocket costs. Even if an employer had a religious objection to birth control, the ACA would still ensure that employees had their birth control covered through other means. President Trump’s rule eliminates this guarantee, allowing any employer for any reason, religious, moral, or otherwise, to decide that a woman can no longer have birth control covered by her health insurance, and there is no guarantee that employees will still be able to have their birth control covered through other means. This threatens the guarantee of contraceptive coverage that 62 million women across the country rely upon.
Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sponsored the bill. In addition to Senator Cortez Masto, the following senators also cosponsored the legislation: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
Companion legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.).
Please find the text of the bill here.