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Attorney General William Tong

09/19/2019

AG TONG TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH BIRTH CONTROL REFUSAL INJUNCTION IS ILLEGAL

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general urging the Trump Administration to immediately comply with the court-ordered injunction in California v.Azar. Connecticut joined a coalition led by California earlier this year in securing an injunction to block the Trump Administration’s attempt to strip access to cost-free birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A similar injunction was also secured by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Despite the clear injunction from the court, the Trump Administration has yet to update its website and inform the public about the injunction and its impact on their contraceptive coverage.

"Women—regardless of where they work-- can get cost-free birth control under the ACA, but President Trump doesn't want you to know this. Probably, because the more women take advantage of this benefit, the harder it will be for him to take it away. The courts have blocked the Trump Administration from stripping away this coverage, yet federal agencies continue to provide misleading and inaccurate information, including erroneous claims that employers can opt out of providing this coverage. That is a violation of court orders and must be immediately corrected," said Attorney General Tong.

Since the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment was put into place in 2012, 62 million women have benefitted from this provision. On October 6, 2017, the Trump Administration issued ill-conceived rules that allowed virtually any employer to deny women cost-free birth control guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. A coalition of attorneys general led by California secured a nationwide injunction in December of 2017. Nearly a year later, the Trump Administration issued final rules that were nearly identical to the interim final rules. Connecticut then joined the California-led coalition in quickly challenging the rule and securing yet another injunction, protecting access to birth control for millions of women across the country.

Despite that injunction being in place, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor websites state that employers can opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, in violation of the court orders. Further, another HHS webpage lists all of the preventive services mandated under the ACA, but does not include contraceptive coverage.

In today’s letter, led by California Attorney General Becerra, Attorney General Tong along with the attorneys general of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, urged the Trump Administration to comply with the injunction.

The letter can be found here.

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