President Donald Trump's pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, along with his appointment of Tom Price as health secretary, have prompted fears that birth control will no longer be free for women in the US.

The inclusion of free contraception in the Affordable Care Act has been criticised by Republicans since its inception, with concerns raised by some within the GOP that the rule could impinge on religious freedom.

Price himself criticised the mandate on birth control when he was a Congressman. He said in 2012 that he did not believe women could not afford their own contraception.

As such, there are now fears Republicans may drop the contraception requirement when rewriting healthcare guidelines – and could do so in a way that would not necessarily require Congress to sign off on it.

If the new healthcare guidelines simply dropped contraception from the list of free women's healthcare provisions that insurance companies must include, it would make the change simple.

Laurie Sobel, the associate director for women's health policy at healthcare NGO the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Hill: "They could issue new guidance that says plans have more leeway to cover what they need to cover.

"The contraception requirement is at risk."

Tom Price testifies before Senate finance committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be health and human services secretary Reuters/Carlos Barria

It is not yet clear what the Republicans intend to do with the provisions laid out by the Affordable Care Act, as there has been no specific statement about what they will drop, and the department of Health and Human Services will not speculate on the policy.

However, according to Adam Sonfield, a senior policy adviser with liberal think tank the Guttmacher Institute: "There's a lot of pressure on this administration and a lot of people within the administration who clearly have an agenda that runs contrary to this provision," The Hill reported.

"It certainly looks like a strong possibility that they're going to try to do something."