AG Nessel Pushes to Restore Birth Control Coverage for Thousands of Michigan Women

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, right, hugs Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after Nessel was sworn in during inauguration ceremonies, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, outside the state Capitol in Lansing. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

By Kyle Kaminski

April 11, 2023

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (and 21 other attorneys general) are calling on President Joe Biden to scrap a Trump-era rule that led to thousands of Michigan women losing birth control insurance coverage.

MICHIGAN—Attorney General Dana Nessel knows it’s “more important than ever” for Michigan women to have the resources they need to access safe and reliable reproductive care, she said.

That’s why this week Nessel joined 21 other states in urging President Joe Biden’s administration to stop allowing employers to interfere with the health decisions of their employees, and ensure that contraceptives are fully covered under the Affordable Care Act.

“Contraceptive care is vital for women if they’re going to be free to fully advance their educational and economic goals,” Nessel said in a statement announcing the new push.

In 2010, former President Barack Obama signed into law a mandate that required all employers and sponsors of health plans to cover the cost of preventative services necessary for women’s health—including contraceptive services like birth control pills, patches, and other medications.

Officials estimate that more than 62 million women benefited from the expanded coverage.

After former President Donald Trump took office, he signed into law broad religious and moral exemptions that allowed employers to stop providing contraceptive coverage. The new rules made it so employers needn’t even inform employees of the coverage change—and as many as 126,400 women across the country are estimated to have lost birth control coverage as a result.

In February, the Biden administration proposed new regulations to correct the issue by rescinding the moral and religious exemption rules, and ensuring that patients enrolled in health plans by objecting entities would still have the opportunity to obtain no-cost contraceptives.

Nessel said the “dangerous rules” go against the spirit of the Affordable Care Act because they not only deny women access to legally protected preventative healthcare, but also go “far beyond what was necessary” to protect the rights of those with religious or moral objections. 

“I stand with my colleagues in supporting the new regulations because it’s time to once again fully allow the ACA to protect women’s choices in the ways it was intended to do,” she said.

Studies have shown that access to contraceptive care supports people’s ability to control their own reproductive health, and promotes access to education, jobs, and financial empowerment.

In a letter, the coalition of attorneys general also called for expanding the coverage to a wider spectrum of people who are excluded from contraceptive coverage. They also urged the Biden administration to launch an outreach campaign to help more people gain access to coverage.


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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