Connecticut Attorney General (AG) William Tong has joined the call of 22 other Democrat attorneys general for the continuation of free birth control under Obamacare – even in the case of religious employers.
The attorneys general have joined together in filing a court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to support officials in Nevada in their defense of women’s access to birth control under the contraceptive mandate that is part of Obamacare.
“Women deserve equal, unfettered access to birth control regardless of where they work,” Tong said in a press statement, adding:
Nothing in the Affordable Care Act infringes upon an employer’s religious freedom, a finding that has been upheld by courts across the country. Efforts by the Trump administration to regulate women’s personal health choices are harmful and unlawful and must be struck down.
Under the Affordable Care Act and federal regulations, employers that have a religious objection to birth control may file a simple, one-page form to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage for their employees and dependents. Employees and dependents maintain access to contraceptive coverage through their health insurers and third-party administrators. The ACA gives more than 55 million women in the United States, access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs.
Tong and his fellow Democrats assert the Trump administration’s interpretation of religious freedom has encouraged employers to declare religious exemptions from Obamacare’s requirement of free birth control coverage.
The Democrat attorneys general argue in the brief that “full and equal health coverage is critical to [residents’] health, well-being, and economic security, and the ACA’s contraceptive mandate serves a key role in guaranteeing this access.”
While the Democrats voice their concern about women having “control over their bodies,” they say nothing in their brief about the ability of women to make a personal decision to abstain from sex in order to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Instead, they argue it is “contraception” that “gives [women] the power to choose if and how they pursue educational, employment, and other opportunities,” and not the women themselves.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. The correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission, including HIV infection. However, no protective method is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD or pregnancy.
According to the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut attorney general condemned the Trump administration’s active protection of religious freedom – enabling health care professionals to deny abortion, birth control drugs and procedures, and transgender treatments due to their faith beliefs.
Tong said the Trump administration’s position is one that “panders to an anti-choice and homophobic fringe,” and endangers people, particularly women and LGBTQ individuals, “who already face needless hurdles [in] accessing health care.”
Despite some changes to Obamacare, Congress has failed to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, and it remains the law of the land.
One of Obamacare’s most celebrated achievements by left-wing organizers has been its declaration of birth control as an “essential preventive service,” rather than a personal choice for people who choose to be sexually active.
Led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the attorneys general who signed onto the brief represent: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.