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Planned Parenthood Sues Trump Administration over Rule Requiring Separate Abortion Billing for Obamacare Insurers

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Tuesday, objecting to the administration’s rule requiring Obamacare insurers to bill separately for abortions.

The rule, scheduled to take effect June 27, would require health-insurance companies that participate in the Affordable Care Act marketplace to send a second bill to patients for abortions, separate from their bill for other healthcare. Patients will have to pay using two separate checks, two money orders, or two electronic transactions.

In their lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Planned Parenthood of Maryland and the ACLU argue that the rule has an unstated purpose, namely to make it so expensive and burdensome for insurance companies to provide abortion coverage that the companies stop providing it.

The administration “has not identified a single quantifiable benefit from the final rule to weigh in the balance against these costs,” the suit states.

The administration argues the rule is intended as another precaution in preventing taxpayer funding of abortion coverage. Pro-life advocates raised concerns that many Obamacare patients receive tax subsidies to assist them in paying their premiums. If billing for abortions is mixed with billing for other healthcare, abortions could easily end up being paid for with taxpayer dollars, they argued.

Federal funding for abortions is illegal under the Hyde Amendment except in cases of rape or incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

“The Trump administration’s new insurance rule is another attack on abortion care, designed solely to push safe, legal abortion further out of reach,” said ACLU attorney Meagan Burrows.

“The administration itself admits this rule has no quantifiable benefit — its sole purpose is to create extra red tape for millions of people across the country,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. “We will not stand for this administration’s attempt to shame people and keep them from accessing health care.”

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