Washington: US President Donald Trump's administration annulled on Friday an Obamacare provision that obliged employer health plans to pay for contraception.
The move extends to all commercial enterprises an exemption already given to religious institutions.
It expands "exemptions to protect moral convictions for certain entities and individuals whose health plans are subject to a mandate of contraceptive coverage" under Obamacare, a note published by the US Department of Health and Human Services said.
Obamacare is the common name for the Affordable Care Act, health reforms that took effect under former President Barack Obama in 2010. It allowed millions of uninsured people to get health insurance.
Repealing the act was one of Trump's most strident campaign promises. He described Obamacare as a "total disaster," but his Republican Party has failed in efforts to repeal the health reforms.
Millions of American women who had the cost of contraception reimbursed could be affected by the Trump administration's decision, which conservative groups had been seeking since Obamacare began.
Challenges to Obamacare reached the US Supreme Court, which in 2014 ruled that family-owned private companies could choose not to provide contraceptive coverage to female employees on religious grounds.
In May, Trump signed a decree on religious liberty ordering his administration to take account of objections of conscience on matters of contraception.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)