Trump rolls back access to free birth control

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(BBC) Donald Trump’s government has issued a ruling that allows employers to opt out of providing free birth control to millions of Americans.

Protesters outside the Supreme Court in March when lawsuits were filed against the Obama-era rule (Getty Images)

The rule allows employers and insurers to decline to provide birth control if doing so violates their “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions”.

Fifty-five million women benefited from the Obama-era rule, which made companies provide free birth control.

As a candidate, Mr Trump had pledged to eliminate that requirement.

It had been a key feature of so-called Obamacare – President Obama’s efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system.

It included a provision that permitted religious institutions to forego birth control coverage for their employees.

But the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Friday it was important to expand which organisations can opt out and deny free contraceptive coverage.

“We should have space for organisations to live out their religious ideas and not face discrimination because of their religious ideas,” said one HHS official, who did not wish to be named.

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