Trump’s new “religious freedom” executive order allows employers to deny contraception coverage if the employer claims a moral or religious objection, opening the floodgates to discrimination in the name of religion. Submit a public comment to HHS through the ACLU, and send a message to health insurers through Ultraviolet’s petition.
Last week the Trump administration moved to expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception with a “religious freedom” executive order that could also erode civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. The new rules roll back an ACA requirement that employers must include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Now any employer can be exempt from the requirement if they claim an objection on moral or religious grounds. More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the ACA mandate. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose those benefits. The ACLU and attorneys general from several states have filed lawsuits to block the new rules on the grounds that they violate the 1st Amendment, which bars government action “respecting an establishment of religion.” Maine’s AG Janet Mills has joined 17 other attorneys general to warn the administration that legal action will be forthcoming. The new rules must now go through a period of public comment.
- Freedom of religion cannot be used as a shield to permit discrimination, or to allow the government to impose costs or burdens on other people.
- Women should not have to pay extra to accommodate an employer’s religious beliefs.
- Increased access to contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies and reduces abortion rates.
- Access to free contraception is a vital component of ensuring women’s equality.
- Birth control is essential health care, and more than 55 million women have access to it as a result of the ACA mandate.