Supreme Court Rules Employers Can Deny Birth Control Coverage

Press Releases / July 8, 2020

July 8, 2021 — New York, NY — On Wednesday, July 8th, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that employers with religious or moral objections to birth control can deny coverage to their employees. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

NOW New York President, Sonia Ossorio, said, “This is yet another reason to go to the polls in November. Donald Trump just cost working women real money. Making birth control a no co-pay benefit of health insurance makes it accessible and reduces monthly expenses. The Affordable Care Act recognized that preventing unwanted pregnancy gives women power over their lives and actually reduces the number of abortions. Stripping thousands upon thousands of women of this benefit is not only supremely counterproductive, it’s a women-hating policy.”

The case centered on challenges to an Obama-era regulation on implementing the Affordable Care Act that required employers and health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception at no cost.  Although houses of worship already had exemptions from the requirement, the Trump administration sought to expand these exemptions for all employers for their religious beliefs. Significant in this case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the Court went so far as to uphold a far broader exception to the birth control mandate that goes beyond religious beliefs and includes employers “with sincerely held moral convictions” who oppose contraceptive methods. It’s estimated that over 100,000 women could lose access to coverage as a result of the decision.

Ossorio said, “Elevating the religious or moral beliefs of individuals over the broader public’s health is outright discrimination that denies the medical evidence and factual data that demonstrate the far-reaching health and economic benefits of access to contraception.”

It is estimated that more than 99% of sexually active women of reproductive age have used some form of contraception. Access to contraception empowers women and gender non-conforming people and their families to have control over their health, economic status, and lives. Contraception provides numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of some forms of cancer and the treatment of the debilitating symptoms of disorders like endometriosis, in addition to reducing unplanned pregnancies and ensuring healthy spacing and timing of births.

NOW-NYC ignites change for the women and girls of New York. We advance laws, promote women in politics, fight for reproductive justice, challenge discrimination and violence against women, and act NOW.


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