Office of the Attorney General Press Release:
RICHMOND (October 6, 2017) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring, along with Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, is leading a coalition of 18 attorneys general warning the Trump administration that it should expect legal action over its discriminatory, ill-considered, and dangerous move to effectively end the contraception coverage rule created by the Affordable Care Act.
The 18 attorneys general have written Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Don Wright expressing their strong opposition to the Trump administration’s action that will increase healthcare costs for women, lead to more unplanned pregnancies, and place even more strain on state budgets.
“Today’s decision by the Trump administration puts healthcare decisions in the hands of a woman’s employer, which is so demeaning, discriminatory, and dangerous that it’s hard to put it into words,” said Attorney General Herring. “All women should have the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions, especially when it comes to something as personal as contraception and reproductive health. Unfortunately we have been anticipating this awful idea and have already begun working with other states to evaluate any legal response that may be appropriate to protect our citizens’ private decisions and access to affordable healthcare.”
For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children.
Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Now, 62 million women across the country, including 1.6 million women in Virginia, have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives, and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.
“Allowing any employer or insurance company with a religious or ‘moral’ objection to contraception to opt out of this requirement will take away women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and put those decisions in the hands of their employers,” write the attorneys general. “Subjecting women to the religious and moral beliefs of their employers violates the right to privacy that is so evident in Supreme Court doctrine. Women should have coverage for their critical health care just as men do.”
The attorneys general also informed the relevant cabinet secretaries that “we will closely monitor any legal challenges to this rule that discriminates against women in our states and negatively impacts our state budgets. We stand ready to take action to protect the best interests of our states and constituents.”
Joining today’s letter opposing the Trump administration’s rollback of contraceptive coverage are Attorney General Herring and the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.