July 8, 2020

CONTACT:  Kathy Melley (617) 791-0708

(BOSTON, MA) – The Supreme Court today decided that the Trump-Pence administration had the authority to issue a rule that makes it easier for employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees by citing religious or moral objections. As a result, more than a hundred thousand people – employees and their dependents, as well as university students – could lose access to no-cost birth control as part of their health insurance plans.

In a sharp dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that the ruling would wrongly allow the rights of individuals to be overridden by religious beliefs, stating: “In accommodating claims of religious freedom, this Court has taken a balanced approach, one that does not allow the religious beliefs of some to overwhelm the rights and interests of others who do not share those beliefs… Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree.”

Justice Ginsburg also cited government estimates that between 70,500 and 126,400 women of childbearing age would lose access to contraceptive coverage.

Statement from Community Catalyst Executive Director Emily Stewart in response to today’s ruling:

“The Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit has been a game changer for millions of people across the country. But, the Trump-Pence administration has been doing everything in its power to use religious and moral exemptions to undermine people’s access to birth control coverage without co-pay. Today, the Supreme Court sided with the administration, giving virtually any employer or university the right to refuse to cover birth control.

“Bosses should not have the ability to use their own personal beliefs to deny birth control coverage to their employees. Nor should university presidents be able to deny this coverage to their students. The people most affected by this dangerous rule will be low-wage workers and students, especially Black, Latinx and Indigenous women and LGBTQ+ people who already face unfair and discriminatory barriers to care.  

“That is not what Congress intended when it added birth control coverage to the ACA. The benefit is one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and it should be available to all people, regardless of where they work or go to school.

“While the litigation over the Trump rule may continue in lower courts, Congress must act to ensure the administration is prevented from implementing this harmful rule. Community Catalyst will continue to fight alongside our partners towards access to birth control coverage for all people.”


About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill.For more information, Follow us on Twitter@healthpolicyhub.