A victory for religious freedom or an attack on women’s rights?
Debate is raging in the United States after curbs on access to free birth control, announced on Friday.
Employers have been providing the service under the Obamacare system.
But now, in a ruling issued by President Donald Trump’s government, they can opt-out if they have religious or moral objections.
“The President believes that the freedom to practice one’s faith is a fundamental right in this country, and I think all of us do,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“And that’s all that today was about. Our federal government should always protect that right. And as long as Donald Trump is president, he will.”
Trump is keeping a campaign pledge that pleased his conservative, Christian supporters. Some other Americans though are outraged.
“This is a prime example of how, when you elect a man who is very hostile towards women, that he’s now in office actively pursuing an anti-woman agenda,” said Emma Boorboor of the UltraViolet women’s rights group.
Opponents including the American Civil Liberties Union are taking legal action to try to halt the ruling.
The ruling extends the range of employers who can have an exemption on providing birth control coverage. Religious institutions were already able to opt-out.