New Trump administration regulations let bosses and universities use religion to deny their employees and students access to contraception. But whether a woman uses birth control should be up to her, not her boss or university.
That's why we are fighting back.
What You Need To Know:
Birth control is critical to women's health and equality.
Birth control protects women’s health and helps women plan their families; it allows them to participate in the workforce and pursue their education. In other words, it is critical to their health and equality. That’s why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control. New Trump administration regulations would gut this requirement and leave countless women without access to critical healthcare. And that’s nothing more than discrimination.
The regulations will harm women.
The October 2017 regulations allow any employer or university, even for-profit corporations, to use religion to deny contraception insurance coverage to their employees and students. For many women, especially students, losing coverage for birth control means that they face increased burdens, including significant out-of-pocket costs to get birth control. And in the end, they may not be able to afford it anymore.
Religion is no excuse to harm others.
Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. So is a woman's right to make her own decisions about healthcare. These new rules betray both. Employers and universities shouldn’t be able to use religion as an excuse to dictate their employees’ or students’ health care choices.
Americans United is fighting back.
On October 31, 2017, Americans United and the National Women's Law Center filed Shiraef v. Hargan, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s contraception coverage rules. We represented women who were at risk of being denied coverage, including students at the University of Notre Dame and Alicia Baker, who worked at a church whose insurance provider objected to some forms of birth control. Barely a week after we filed the case, Notre Dame reversed course on its plan to take advantage of the Trump administration rules, announcing instead that employees and students would continue to have contraceptive coverage. And Alicia Baker has a new job and no longer has to worry about an insurance provider’s religious objections. At the time, these women were promised access to birth control and decided they didn’t need to continue their lawsuit.
The fight is not over, however. In February 2018, Notre Dame changed its policy again, announcing that it would stop providing insurance coverage for certain forms of contraception. We know that the university will not cover copper IUDs or emergency contraception, but it has left students and employees in the dark about any other potential changes.
Several states have also challenged the Trump administration’s discriminatory policy. We are filing friend-of-the-court briefs in these cases with religious and civil rights organizations to explain that religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to dictate women’s health care.
In December 2017, we also filed public comments to tell the Trump Administration that these new rules were unfair, unconstitutional, and harmful. And we joined our allies to deliver over 500,000 comments from people across the country—including Americans United supporters—who also think that attacking women’s access to healthcare is wrong.
We will continue to fight to make sure all women have affordable, seamless access to contraception. Women’s health and equality and religious freedom are at stake.
The History Of The Contraception Coverage Requirement:
This Trump administration rules are the latest—and perhaps most drastic—move to gut the ACA's contraception coverage requirement. The policy has been changed several times and has been the focus of two Supreme Court decisions (Hobby Lobby and Zubik). It continues to be the subject of court cases and policy debates.
Recent Study Highlights Importance Of Protecting Birth Control Access - Rokia Hassanein
More Information On Shiraef v. Hargan:
Complaint (October 31, 2017)
Lawsuit Targets Trump’s Rollback Of Birth-Control Rule - Associated Press
Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate -The New York Times