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. Because it is critical to women’s health and equality, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that women have access to affordable and effective contraception. The ACA requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control, but new Trump administration regulations would gut this requirement. As a result, countless women will lose 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. And there’s no backup plan. Under the Trump rules, if an employer or university refuses to cover contraception, employees and students have to pay out-of-pocket for basic healthcare. For many women, including students, losing coverage for birth control means that they probably won’t be able to afford it anymore. Decisions about women’s health care, though, should be left to women — not their employers or universities.
Religion is no excuse to harm others.
Religious freedom is about fairness. We don't treat people differently because their beliefs are different than ours. It is not fair to deny women access to this vital healthcare that's guaranteed by law. Employers and universities should not be able to use religion as an excuse to dictate their employees’ or students’ health care choices.
Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. So is a woman's right to make her own decisions about healthcare. These new rules betrays both. We’re going to court to fight for religious freedom and women’s health and equality.
Americans United is fighting back.
On October 31, 2017, Americans United and National Women's Law Center filed Shiraef v. Hargan, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s contraception coverage rules. In it, we fought on behalf of women who were at risk of being denied birth control coverage, including three students from the University of Notre Dame and Alicia Baker, an employee at an Indiana 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 will continue to have contraceptive coverage. Alicia Baker accepted a new job and no longer has to worry about her previous insurance provider’s religious objections. These women have access to birth control and thus, they don’t need to continue their lawsuit for now.
The fight is not over, however. In February 2018, Notre Dame announced that it would terminate insurance coverage of certain forms of contraception, following an undisclosed settlement it claims to have reached with the government in a separate lawsuit. AU and NWLC sent a demand letter to the university and filed a Freedom of Information Act seeking information about the settlement and the school’s contraceptive coverage for its employees and students.
But countless other women will be harmed by the new rules. That’s why eight states and our allies including the ACLU are also in court challenging the rule. Federal judges in Pennsylvania and California have blocked the birth control rules.
AU continued to fight the regulations outside of court. In December 2017, we 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.
Shiraef v. Hargan
Complaint (October 31, 2017)
Join Us Today To Say #HandsOffMyBC - Rokia Hassanein
Recent Study Highlights Importance Of Protecting Birth Control Access - Rokia Hassanein
Lawsuit Targets Trump’s Rollback Of Birth-Control Rule - Associated Press
Trump Administration Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate -The New York Times