The Biden administration on Thursday warned businesses and health insurance providers that limiting coverage of contraceptives, after a Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, would violate federal law.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, mandates that insurance plans offer free birth control and family planning counseling to insured persons and their dependents. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released guidance outlining this requirement.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in June, more women have complained to HHS and the Department of Labor about being denied coverage for various forms of birth control.
According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, “it is critical that we ensure birth control is accessible nationwide and that employers and insurers follow the law and provide coverage for it with no additional cost.”
Last month, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a seminal 1973 precedent that largely legalized abortion in the country.
As a result of the ruling, around half of U.S. states have banned or limited abortions and some may move to restrict access to birth control.
In the guidelines from HHS issued on July 28, it states that even in states where contraceptives are prohibited, insurance companies must still cover them.
The Supreme Court in 1965 said married couples have a constitutional right to buy and use contraceptives, and extended that to unmarried people in a 1972 decision.
But conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion last month that the court’s reasoning in overturning Roe v. Wade could also apply to birth control.
Reuters contributed to this article.