New York AG Pushes Free Birth Control

(CN) – Days before President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced new legislation to protect New Yorkers’ access to free contraception if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

A key tenet of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, is a mandate that insurers offer full coverage for all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive services with all health insurance policies. The mandate sparked huge court battles over whether an employer could be required to pay for contraceptive services when he or she has a religious objection to birth control.

Trump has indicated that his first priority upon taking the presidential oath of office will be to repeal Obamacare, even when he lacks a viable plan to replace it. About 2.7 million New Yorkers will lose health insurance if the law is repealed.

“With the Affordable Care Act under attack in Washington, it’s all the more critical that New York act now to protect these rights,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act will ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the birth control method they need to stay healthy and effectively plan for their future – no matter what happens in Congress.”

The legislation would require state health insurance plans to provide coverage for all FDA-approved methods of birth control, including emergency contraception, and would prohibit companies from “medical management” review restrictions that can delay coverage.

The bill is supported by numerous members of the New York State assembly, and is likely to gain the approval of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has criticized the Republican Congress’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Now, more than ever, we need leaders in our states to be champions for our reproductive rights,” Kelly Baden of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement. “A woman should never forgo contraception because of her economic situation.”