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NM Reacts to Trump's Rollback on LGBT Rights, Birth Control

President Donald Trump's efforts to dismantle initiatives enacted under the Obama administration now include limiting birth control for women and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. (internationalwomensinitiative.org)
President Donald Trump's efforts to dismantle initiatives enacted under the Obama administration now include limiting birth control for women and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. (internationalwomensinitiative.org)
October 9, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A group in New Mexico that advocates for reproductive justice and health care says the state's rural communities will suffer the most from the Trump administration's decision Friday to limit birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The employer contraceptive coverage mandate under ACA regulations provided access to birth control to more than 62 million women and saved women $1.4 billion in 2013.

Denicia Cadena, policy director for the advocacy group Young Women United, says New Mexico is one of the states that has benefitted the most from the ACA, and the new directive is turning back the clock.

"It just shows how much this administration has really committed themselves to attacking the most marginalized people in our society,” she states. “We know that both of those groups – that people of color, low-income people – are likely to be most impacted."

The Trump administration also issued sweeping religious freedom directions that could override many anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the states of California and Massachusetts filed lawsuits immediately after the announcement Friday, arguing that the federal government cannot authorize discrimination.

New Mexico recently became the fourth state in the nation where pharmacists can prescribe birth control, which helps those living in rural areas where there are doctor shortages.

Cadena says the Trump directive to allow companies not to cover birth control as part of their health plan is being promoted as religious liberty but is truly a health access issue.

"Contraception allows women and people to be able to make decisions about if and when they have a family, so we know this attack isn't about good health care or about cost savings but is really an attack on women and our families," she stresses.

Research shows 55 percent of pregnancies in New Mexico were unintended in 2010 compared with 45 percent nationally in 2011.


Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM