SCOTUS Rules To Let Employers Opt Out Of Birth Control Coverage On “Moral” Grounds

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On Wednesday, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to uphold a Trump Administration ruling that permits employers with non secular or ethical objections to limit their workers’ entry to contraception. The rule goes towards an Affordable Care Act mandate that allowed firms to choose out of paying for contraception, however nonetheless offered workers underneath their healthcare plans with free contraception. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg identified in her dissent, this ruling may trigger as many as 126,000 workers to lose their entry to free contraception.

“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,” Ginsburg wrote. “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.” Ginsburg was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who additionally dissented and argued towards the rule as a “religious freedom.”

The case in query (Trump v. Pennsylvania), was introduced forth by Trump Administration in 2018, nevertheless it was instantly challenged nationwide by decrease courts. After Pennsylvania and New Jersey each efficiently blocked the rule’s implementation, the Trump Administration — through the non secular nonprofit Little Sisters of the Poor — despatched the case to the Supreme Court and requested for a reversal. 

This determination is a disappointing blow after the Supreme Court just lately dominated in assist of communities and people repeatedly attacked by the Trump Administration, together with the actions to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and to guard LGBTQ+ staff underneath the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But defending so-called non secular agendas over contraception rights may upend that streak.

Reproductive rights activists are already criticizing the choice. “Today’s SCOTUS decision on the ACA’s birth control benefit is dangerous & could impact contraceptive coverage for hundreds of thousands of people,” Dr. Herminia Palacio, President of the reproductive rights analysis and coverage group the Guttmacher Institute, wrote on Twitter. Palacio added that this ruling is “just the latest in a pattern of attacks” on reproductive healthcare. 

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s President and CEO, additionally slammed the ruling, and wrote that the struggle for inexpensive contraceptive care will proceed. “This is not over,” Johnson tweeted. “We will do everything we can to ensure those who need birth control and other sexual and reproductive health care can access it — no matter who you work for, where you go to school, how much money you make, or the color of your skin.”

Planned Parenthood’s political motion committee identified, through a sequence of tweets, that this ruling may even disproportionately have an effect on individuals of shade, youthful individuals, and lower-income people. “This isn’t accidental,” the committee wrote. “It is yet another part of the network of oppressive tactics that reinforce white supremacy.”

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