City joins 16 other local governments across the United States to protect women’s health

City Hall, NY – In an effort to ensure women have access to birth control, New York City this week filed a brief in federal court opposing the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back the requirements that guarantee contraceptive coverage in most health insurance plans. The guaranteed coverage for contraception is a requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Trump administration is seeking to effectively end the requirement with an expanded moral exemption clause that allows employers to opt out for religious or moral objections, a change that could lead to women losing coverage of their contraceptives and force municipalities to pick up social and economic costs.

“This is an attack on women from a federal government that seems determined to control their bodies and health choices. It’s like something out of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ I am proud to join this landmark litigation to stop the dangerous trend of government encroaching on women’s rights,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The City filed the friend of the court brief in support of the state of California, which initially sued to stop the proposed rules change. New York is one of 17 cities, counties and local agencies that have joined onto the suit to support California. The case is now on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit.

In the court papers filed this week, the cities, counties and local agencies argue that access to family planning benefits not just women but also the government institutions “charged with promoting and protecting public health.”

The brief demonstrates that denying insurance to women will increase the financial burdens on local government because of social, health and economic costs resulting in unplanned pregnancies.

“Access to contraceptive care is fundamental to every woman’s health and well-being. The Trump administration’s attempt to allow employer-managed health insurance plans to cut off contraception coverage for ‘moral reasons’ is non-sensical and incredibly short-sighted. Unplanned pregnancies bring with them extremely serious social and economic costs. I am absolutely mystified as to why we would want to make it harder for women to engage in family planning,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women.

“This legislative package sends a message to everyone, including the White House, that New York City will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. We are calling out abuses of power because accountability and justice is long overdue. The punishment must fit the crime, regardless of the type of workplace. However, passing this package will not end our campaign – we must take our message of protecting individuals’ safety and dignity to homes and streets everywhere,” said New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus.

“As part of the national effort to challenge Trump’s rollback of contraceptive coverage, New York City is affirming its commitment to protect women’s fundamental right to make decisions about their health care. This rollback – in addition to the horrific domestic ‘gag rule’ – will turn back the clock on reproductive rights and endanger the well-being of women across the country. Make no mistake: Trump’s latest assault on reproductive access is fueled by none other than his cruel contempt for women’s autonomy over their bodies. Our City’s action sends a powerful message to the women of New York City: we have your back, and we will continue to resist,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, Co-Chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus.

“I applaud Speaker Johnson’s leadership in supporting California’s challenge to the Trump Administration’s roll back of the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Women’s ability to control their reproductive health is critical to their overall financial and physical well-being, and that of their family. We must continue to fight this war on women and protect every person’s right to affordable, accessible, and comprehensive healthcare,” said Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo.

“This is an outrageous attack on women’s health and female autonomy. Trump is seeking to make birth control a luxury item and put family planning power in the hands of industries instead of women themselves. We can’t and we won’t let that happen. New York stands with California in demanding the Federal government stops using legislative loop holes to harass women and keeps their hands off contraception coverage,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.