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Michigan joins lawsuit challenging birth control coverage rules

Birth control pills.
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Last year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued rules that employers could opt out of covering birth control for their employees. The rules are set to take effect later this month.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Monday that Michigan is joining a list of states challenging that exemption.

Under the rules, places like Catholic hospitals, nursing homes and non-profit organizations would be able to deny contraceptive coverage based on their religious beliefs.

Nessel said in a press release:

“Michigan has a compelling interest in protecting the health, well-being and economic security of our residents. We are committed to ensuring a strong and robust regulatory framework that makes contraception widely available and as affordable as possible to advance educational opportunity, workplace equality and financial empowerment for women, to improve the health of women and children, and to reduce healthcare-related costs for individuals, families, and the State of Michigan.”

Health and Human Services officials said the rules would have no impact on "99.9% of women" in the United States when they were proposed in 2017.

But policy experts argue that this could open the door to hundreds of employers dropping coverage.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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