The Trump administration has drafted a regulation that would dramatically scale back the federal mandate that employers provide free birth control coverage, by providing an exemption to anyone who raises religious or moral objections.

The proposal, which drew praise Wednesday from many religious and conservative activists and criticism by several women’s and reproductive rights groups, could affect hundreds of thousands of women who now receive free contraceptive coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The draft rule, which is dated May 23 and is pending at the Office of Management and Budget, goes much further than current ACA provisions that exempt houses of worship and provide a form of accommodation for religiously affiliated nonprofits and closely held for-profit companies. Under the accommodation, these employers can opt out of providing the coverage and instead have their insurance company pay for it by notifying the insurer, a third-party administrator or the federal government.

But many religious groups and charities have argued that the Obama-era rule still violates their principles because it facilitates birth control. The draft regulation, first reported by Vox, would “provide exemptions for entities and individuals with both moral and religious objections to contraceptives.”

These “expanded exemptions,” in the words of the leaked proposal, could apply to any entity that opposes providing birth control to employees, including universities and major corporations. The revised rule would preserve the current accommodation, which has been invoked by roughly 10 percent of all nonprofits with 5,000 or more employees.

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