Birth Control

Birth Control

The ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project protects everyone's right to make informed decisions free from government interference about whether and when to become a parent. Learn more about our work in reproductive health and take action to protect rights guaranteed to all Americans.

Every sexually active individual should have safe, affordable access to the full range of contraceptive options. Meaningful access to contraception and freedom from coerced contraception is integral to our vision for a world in which people are free to express their sexuality, to form intimate relationships, to lead healthy sexual lives and to decide when and whether to have children,

Access to contraception is critical to an individual’s autonomy, equality and ability to participate in the social, economic, and political life of the nation. Yet for many people – particularly low-income women and teens – issues of cost and confidentiality make contraception inaccessible. 

The ACLU seeks government policies that ensure access to affordable contraception; respect voluntariness; protect confidentiality; and prohibit sex discrimination, be it in the form of sanctioning religious refusals or treating contraception differently from other care. 

It is imperative that the new health insurance program recognize the obvious importance of contraception as a preventive service.

Additional Resources

Challenges to the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Rule (2013 resouce): Nearly 60 lawsuits have been filed across the country challenging the federal rule that employers include contraception in the insurance they provide employees. One of these many cases is likely headed to the Supreme Court. The cases now being heard pose the fundamental question: "Does the right to religious freedom include the right of a business or institution to impose its views on a diverse workforce?" We don’t think so.

Promoting Equality: An Analysis of the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Rule (2011 PDF): This paper explains why the Obama administration’s rule ensuring that insurance plans cover contraception does not conflict with religious freedom protections, and shows how the theory being pushed by opponents of the rule has far-reaching consequences.

HHS Ensures Affordable Contraception (2011 press release): In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services announced all new insurance plans must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, as well as other critical preventive care like screening and counseling for domestic violence, without cost-sharing. This new measure makes effective birth control more affordable for millions of women by eliminating extra out-of-pocket expenses. The policies were recommended by an expert panel of the Institute of Medicine.

Military Lifts Ban on Emergency Contraception (2010 blog): In 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) quietly made public its decision to require that emergency contraception (EC or Plan B) be available at all overseas military facilities.

Ensuring Access to Emergency Contraception After Rape (2007 resource): Throughout the country, many emergency care facilities fail to offer women who’ve been raped the treatment they need to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive (EC) pills, sometimes referred to as the “morning-after pill” can prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse, including rape.

Religious Refusals and Reproductive Rights: Accessing Birth Control at the Pharmacy (2007 PDF)

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