State Attorney General Douglas Chin said Hawaii has joined a coalition of 14 states, and the District of Columbia, in opposing the rollback of birth control coverage currently mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the lead author of Wednesday’s letter addressed to Eric Hargan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urging him not to exempt employers from complying with the contraception coverage mandate due to their religious or moral objections.
Schneiderman said that the department’s interim final rules violate the Administrative Procedure Act, the Equal Protection Clause and the Establishment Clause. To date, he said, more than 62.4 million women have benefited from the ACA-mandated contraceptive coverage.
“Unfortunately the Trump Administration has embarked on a multi-pronged assault on women’s health care, and these final interim rules are part of that,” said Chin in a press release.
The attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia also signed Schneiderman’s letter.
“Access to contraception is fundamental to women’s rights to bodily freedom and to emotional autonomy,” the letter said in its conclusion. “It is a public health issue, with effects on unintended pregnancy, maternal health, and infant morbidity. It also implicates economic mobility and wage parity, educational opportunity and social equality. These far-reaching effects are too great to ignore, and are protected by the Constitution, our laws and regulations. Accordingly, we urge the Secretary to rescind the [interim final rules].”
A copy of the letter is viewable online.