STATEMENT: Supreme Court Chips Away at Access to Birth Control Coverage

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that could effectively strip away coverage for affordable birth control for women who have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In its decision in Pennsylvania’s case against the Trump administration’s birth control rules, the court upheld rules issued by the administration that expand religious and moral exemptions for employers and universities. As a result of the ACA’s birth control benefit, nearly 62 million women currently have birth control access with no out-of-pocket cost and have saved $1.4 billion in one year alone.

Jamille Fields Allsbrook, director of Women’s Health and Rights at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

This decision will make it easier for virtually any employer and university to claim religious or moral objections to covering birth control for women, as stipulated under the ACA, and permits the misuse of religion and morality as a license to discriminate. As a result, countless women could lose coverage for birth control through their employer or student health plans. This decision will require women to pay more for the coverage and birth control benefits they need or, worse, force them to pay out of pocket. For many, this will be impossible and leave them without access to birth control at all—a burden which will be hardest felt by young people, Black and Latina women, and people with low incomes.

Birth control is basic health care, and it has been associated with improved health and economic security. More than 99 percent of women ages 15 to 44 who are sexually active have used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime. Access to birth control helps families plan and space their pregnancies, allowing them to pursue their professional and educational goals, and it is used to manage health conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

In taking up the Trump administration’s health care repeal lawsuit, the court threatens to further roll back protections next term by allowing insurers to charge people more on the basis of sex and taking away access to even more health care services. Congress must pass legislation to protect the health and economic well-being of women and ensure that women do not suffer from the injection of naked politics into our judicial process.

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