Statement by Crystal Strait, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, regarding today’s decision by a Pennsylvania court to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump administration from allowing employers to opt out of providing birth control benefits for “any religious or moral reasons.”
“We applaud today’s court decision in Pennsylvania blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict birth control access. We have said from the beginning that the administration’s action was an unlawful and immoral attack on women. The outcome of today’s ruling will benefit millions of women and their families. Planned Parenthood is incredibly thankful to all of the Attorneys General who led the charge to block this harmful rule change by President Trump, especially California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his leadership in fighting for birth control access for Californians.”
President Trump’s attempt to restrict access to birth control would have had wide-ranging consequences, erecting new barriers to reproductive health care and leading to increases in unintended pregnancies, premature births, and maternal mortality. Over 62 million women have directly benefited from no-cost birth control benefits included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with women saving $1.4 billion on birth control pills in 2013 alone.
Despite laws already on the books in California to protect access, the rule change would have allowed self-insured employers the right to refuse providing cost-free birth control benefits to employees upon citing moral or religious objections, potentially affecting 6.8 million Californians who are currently on employer self-funded health care plans.
Last month, Attorney General Becerra’s office filed a similar motion for nationwide injunctive relief in federal court to halt the Trump administration’s new rules that allow self-insured employers to opt out of the ACA requirement. A decision on the California motion is pending. Because Planned Parenthood provides birth control to almost one million Californians each year, Jenna Tosh Ph.D, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, signed a declaration supporting the California motion.
The seven independently incorporated Planned Parenthood 501(C)(3) affiliates operate 115 health centers serving close to 800,000 Californians each year. They provide preventive and reproductive health care services including family planning, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment and in some areas primary health care services.