The executive order signed by President Donald Trump wasn’t the only action taken last week by the Trump Administration to signal its intent to roll back key protections against discrimination in the Affordable Care Act under the guise of religious freedom.
The executive order is aimed at attacking women’s access to birth control, which is essential to women’s health and equality. The president believes that bosses should be allowed to use religion as an excuse to deny their employees insurance coverage for contraception. But denying women access to contraception in the name of religion is discrimination, plain and simple.
And in a federal court in Texas, the administration announced it would “reassess” key parts of the ACA’s protections against discrimination. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination in health programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. It’s the first time that federal law has barred sex discrimination in healthcare. After a federal judge sided with several states and a couple of religiously affiliated medical organizations that claimed the ACA’s ban on sex discrimination, which includes barring unequal treatment based on gender identity or terminating a pregnancy violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the administration has now asked that the case be put on hold. The administration says it’s going to reevaluate whether these nondiscrimination protections are necessary and reasonable, which surely means that these forms of sex discrimination will no longer be barred.
Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. We have the right to believe—or not—as we see fit. Religion, however, should never be an excuse to discriminate or harm others. The administration’s actions last week clearly fly in the face of religious freedom.
Americans United is dedicated to fighting for religious freedom and against those who would misuse it as an excuse to harm others. Have you been denied access to healthcare because of someone else’s religious belief? We may be able to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.