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On the same day that the House of Representatives voted to deny millions of women access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers and further undermine Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump signed a sweeping executive order that further threatens women’s access to health care. The executive order directs the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor to consider issuing policy that would allow employers, schools, and other entities to refuse to cover women’s preventive health services, including birth control, in their insurance plans on the basis of religious or moral objection.

The Planned Parenthood Clergy Advocacy Board (CAB) condemns attempts to undermine women’s access to preventive health services.

As religious leaders, we engage every day with people from diverse communities who rely on federal protections to ensure they can receive the health care they need. We know, first hand, the heartache that comes when people fear they will lose access to their health insurance or be denied essential services. Healthcare is a human right and our faiths have long upheld the moral good in ensuring women’s access reproductive health care — including birth control and safe and legal abortion.

This country has a long and vital tradition of religious freedom that protects personal beliefs without allowing the imposition of harms on others. Yet, this executive order signals that the administration wants to give employers the right to disregard their employees’ own personal beliefs and invade their privacy. It is unacceptable to point to “religious liberty” as an excuse to limit women’s access to health care.

Background on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board:

Building on the long history of faith leaders taking an active role in reproductive health care, the Clergy Advocacy Board has been working with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further the goal of full reproductive rights and freedom for all women and men for more than  two decades. Its members, who are dedicated clergy and faith leaders from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S., lead a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health.