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Underwood files brief to protect women's birth control access in NY

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a coalition of 17 Attorneys General – filed an amicus brief to support a lawsuit by Massachusetts challenging the Trump administration's efforts to roll back an Affordable Care Act requirement that employers include contraceptive coverage for women in their health insurance plans.

"The person who should be making decisions about a woman's health is that woman – not her boss, and not her government," said Attorney General Underwood. "As we've argued, the Trump administration's rules are unlawful, seeking to undermine women's basic freedom and equality. We will continue to do what it takes to protect New Yorkers' right to reproductive health care."

A December 2017 nationwide injunction stopped the Trump administration's rules undermining the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers provide their employees with contraceptive coverage; the Trump administration is appealing that injunction. Massachusetts also sued the Trump administration over its plans to change this critical rule, and the amicus brief filed today supports that lawsuit.

The amicus brief, filed Monday with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, supports Massachusetts' appeal to stop the federal government from implementing new rules that authorize virtually any employer with a religious or moral objection to disregard its legal obligation to provide its employees and their dependents with coverage for contraceptive care. According to the brief, rules issued by the Trump Administration violate the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance companies to cover preventive health care services, including contraception, with no co-pays.

Since the ACA's requirement to cover contraceptives took effect in 2012, it's saved American women $1.4 billion. As a result of the ACA, millions of women in the United States – including 3.8 million in New York – have access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs.

The brief was filed by the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The New York Attorney General's office has also proposed legislation to protect and enhance New Yorkers' access to cost-free contraception. The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act would ensure continuation and expansion of vital contraception coverage for New Yorkers.