ACLU Urges Supreme Court to Reject Trump Administration’s Attempt to Undermine the ACA Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

April 8, 2020 1:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court today urging the court to reject the Trump administration’s attempt to undermine the birth control benefit of the Affordable Care Act.

The case, Trump v. Pennsylvania, challenges regulations issued shortly after Donald Trump took office in 2017, saying that employers or universities could invoke their religious or moral beliefs to withhold contraception coverage from employees and students. The regulations would, if allowed to take effect, dramatically expand the religious exemption to the birth control benefit and add a whole new exemption for institutions objecting on moral grounds. Challenges to the benefit have reached the Supreme Court twice before.

As argued in the brief, “Contraception is not simply a pill or a device; it is a tool, like education, essential to women’s equality. Without access to contraception, women’s ability to complete an education, to hold a job, to advance in a career, or to care responsibly for children, may be significantly compromised …To give individual employers and universities the right to invoke their religious beliefs to deny their female employees and students this critical benefit … impermissibly permits religion to be a justification for discrimination.”

“Religious liberty is a fundamental value — but allowing companies and universities to use religious beliefs to block employees’ and students’ birth control coverage is discrimination, not religious liberty,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Access to contraception is critical if we are to achieve gender equality. Being able to decide whether and when to become a parent means that you can make decisions about your economic, educational, and family life. Everyone should have birth control coverage, regardless of where they work or where they go to school.”

Should the Trump administration policy be allowed to stand, it would deny tens of thousands of people coverage for contraceptive care otherwise guaranteed by law. An estimated 62 million people have been able to access birth control coverage with no copay as a result of the birth control benefit, which was designed to eliminate sex discrimination in the health care system. The Trump administration’s policy instead allows sex discrimination by authorizing employers and universities to take away a benefit otherwise guaranteed by law.

The brief was filed in conjunction with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The brief is online here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/amicus-brief-supreme-court-trump-v-p…

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