Attorney General Janet Mills joined 17 other Attorneys General in protesting the Trump administration’s recent move to end the mandatory contraception coverage rule created by the Affordable Care Act, according to a press release issued by Andrew Roth-Wells, special assistant to the Attorney General.
The 18 attorneys general wrote to Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Don Wright, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin expressing strong opposition to the Trump administration’s action which they say will only increase healthcare costs for women, lead to more unplanned pregnancies and place greater strain on both family finances and state budgets.
“This action is an attack on the health of women and girls throughout our country,” said Attorney General Mills. “It is an attack on our right to privacy and sets a terrible precedent of allowing employers to interfere in the most personal decisions of their employees.”
For millions of women the ACA contraception coverage rule has reduced healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Now, 62 million women across the country, including 253,000 women in Maine, have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255. per year for oral pill contraceptives and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.
“Allowing any employer or insurance company with a religious or ‘moral’ objection to contraception to opt out of this requirement will take away women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and put these decisions in the hands of their employers,” wrote the attorneys general. “Subjecting women to the religious and moral beliefs of their employers violates the right to privacy enshrined in Supreme Court doctrine. Women should have coverage for their critical health care just as men do.”
The attorneys general also informed the cabinet secretaries that “we will closely monitor any legal challenges to this rule that discriminates against women in our states and negatively impact our state budgets. We stand ready to protect the best interests of our states and constituents.”
Attorney General Janet Mills has announced that she is running for Governor when LePage’s term expires.