A new effort to rollback women’s access to birth control has gained the support of the House GOP.
The measure was introduced Monday by Reps.
Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Zoe Lofgren, D -Calif., in an effort to address concerns raised by reproductive rights groups and lawmakers.
The legislation would give insurance companies the option of charging women higher premiums for coverage for preventive care and services that prevent unintended pregnancies and other health problems, including contraception.
The bill would also allow insurers to deny coverage for any services that provide health insurance, including cancer screenings, emergency contraception, birth control, and maternity care.
The GOP bill would apply only to women in their 20s, 30s and 40s and would allow them to retain the right to request a waiver to the birth control mandate.
Lofberg, who is also a senior health policy advisor for the American Cancer Society, said in a statement that the new measure “is an important first step in the right direction to ensure that all Americans have access to the health care they need.”
Speier said in the statement that it was time for lawmakers to “take on the health insurance industry and make sure that women are able to afford contraception and birth control at the same time.”
Speiers legislation comes after President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from Planned Parenthood in the face of mounting public criticism of the women’s healthcare provider.
Last month, Trump signed a measure into law that would cut off federal funding to the family planning organization.
That measure, however, is not retroactive.
The new legislation is the first major attempt to roll Backtrack, which is a group of women who have sued over the requirement that insurers cover all birth control.
The plan is also the first to include a provision that would allow insurers in states with a mandate to allow women to request that the mandate be removed from their policies.
The group has argued that the health insurer mandate is a violation of women’s rights and that the insurance companies have an obligation to treat women equally.
“This bill ensures that women have access not only to affordable and effective birth control services, but also to affordable, affordable, high-quality, preventive care that can protect them from STDs and prevent pregnancy,” Lofquist said in an email to The Washington Times.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also weighed in on the new legislation.
The association wrote in a letter to the House that it supports efforts to strengthen women’s and men’s access and to ensure parity in health care coverage.
“However, we do not support a repeal of the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate, which would be inconsistent with the core tenets of the United States Constitution,” the letter said.
“We strongly support efforts to provide women with access to affordable birth control in the health system, and the enactment of a health care parity act.”
It said in its letter that it is working with women’s groups on the issue, but would not be commenting further until the health policy committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is formed to explore the issue further.
In addition to Lofstrom and Speiers bill, other lawmakers who supported the bill include Reps.
Judy Chu, D |Calif., Barbara Lee, D –Calif., Linda Sanchez, D ,Calif., Judy Chu’s son, Aaron Sanchez, R ,Calif.; Barbara Lee’s son David, R,Calif.; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; Mike Honda, R |Calif.; and Mark Pocan, R –Wis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.