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Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Law Forcing Employers to Provide Free Birth Control
by DR. SUSAN BERRY20 Nov 2017
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a bill into law that, save for churches, forces employers in the state – regardless of their religious or moral convictions – to provide free birth control to workers.
The new law builds on the left-wing narrative that taking birth control pills makes women “healthy.”
“Everyone deserves the ability to stay healthy, plan their families and focus on their future – no matter who they are, where they live or who they work for,” said Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president of Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, Masslive.com reports.
Baker announced the new law on Twitter, stating:
We are proud to join our legislative colleagues to protect women’s health care and access to family planning services. MA leads the nation with near universal health care coverage, and signing this bipartisan bill into law ensures critical access to important contraceptive coverage.
However, a study released in March by the pro-reproduction rights Guttmacher Institute found that, since the Obamacare contraception mandate was inserted into the healthcare law, there has been “no change in levels of contraceptive use or in consistency of use among U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy.”
The study demonstrates that, even when employers have been forced by the federal government to pay for women’s birth control, women are not using it more often or even consistently in order to pursue what Planned Parenthood claims is their “economic advancement.”
According to the study:
The lack of observable change in contraceptive use patterns may be surprising, given the many medical and advocacy groups hypothesizing that increased insurance coverage without cost sharing under the ACA would result in increased and improved contraceptive use. However, the authors note that cost is only one of many barriers to contraceptive access, and they highlight the need for research to identify other financial and nonfinancial barriers. Moreover, prior to ACA implementation, many women were already able to access prescription contraceptives with no cost sharing through publicly funded family planning services, including Medicaid coverage and Title X–funded family planning centers. It is possible that these preexisting safety-net services may have dampened the ACA’s potential impact on contraceptive use patterns.
The new Massachusetts law pushes back on the Trump administration’s rollback in October of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate that required most employers to provide free birth control, sterilization procedures, and abortifacient drugs to employees through health insurance plans.
As Masslive.com reports, the Massachusetts law will also require insurers to pay for an entire year’s supply of birth control pills, while currently they often cover one to three months supply at a time.
The Obamacare contraceptive rule sparked dozens of lawsuits by faith groups – among the most well-known is that of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order that cares for the elderly poor and would have been forced to pay millions of dollars in fines because the sisters’ faith beliefs conflicted with the Obama mandate. The new rule leaves free contraception in place for the vast majority of women since it only concerns employers with moral and religious objections.
The mandate was inserted into Obamacare by former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – an abortion activist – and bureaucrats in her department. Following objections by many religious employers to the requirements of the mandate, the Obama administration devised “accommodations” that only gave the appearance that religious groups would not be footing the bill for the federal government’s mandate of the contraceptive drugs and sterilization procedures.
Planned Parenthood – which benefits financially from a wider distribution of contraceptives – NARAL, other left-wing groups, and their political and media advocates, have attempted to portray Trump as intent on taking away women’s birth control by reversing the mandate. The Obama administration itself, however, actually exempted at least 25 million Americans, through various exemption allowances, from its own rule – including major U.S. cities, the U.S. military, and mega-corporations such as Chevron, Exxon, Visa, and Pepsi Bottling – with little pushback from the left.