Today marks a day of action against President Donald J. Trump’s attacks on contraceptive access. Last month, Trump announced regulations that would allow any employer or university, and even for-profit corporations, to use religion to deny contraception insurance coverage to their employees and students.
We want you to join us in taking action.
Birth control is critical to reproductive health for all Americans. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover contraceptives. That’s why Americans United teamed up with the National Women's Law Center and filed a federal lawsuit challenging the administration’s new regulations to defend religious freedom and access to critical health care. We’re telling the court that these rules are unconstitutional.
The importance of birth control access was illuminated by our plaintiffs in our lawsuit, Shiraef v. Hargan. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health also noted that the abortion rate in the United States decreased by 25 percent from 2008 to 2014, in large part due to improved access to contraception.
“Access to contraception is crucial to me on many levels – intimately, for my career and for my personal health,” said plaintiff Mary Shiraef. “It means I can decide if and when I have children. It also means I can entirely focus on the quality of my relationship, without fear of an unplanned pregnancy. It means I get to focus on my task at hand – working toward a Ph.D. – in equitable measure to my male colleagues. It has also improved my overall health. My IUD has reduced the symptoms of my irritable bowel syndrome, which only doubles the benefits of contraceptives for me.”
AU staff members at the #HandsOffMyBC protest.
Since the birth control regulations must go through a public comment process, we encourage you to raise your voice and submit a public comment to the Department of Health and Human Services here let Trump know that religion is not an excuse to discriminate.
Another thing you can do today is join Americans United staff and allies at a “Hands Off My Birth Control” rally outside the U.S. Capitol from 12:45-3:00 in Washington, D.C. Other rallies are scheduled in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver and Kansas City. If you can’t attend any of the rallies, you can stream them here.
This rally also comes during Transgender Awareness Week. A significant part of activism is education, so it’s important to remember that limiting birth control access hurts everyone, including the transgender community.
Religious freedom is about fairness. We don’t treat people differently because their beliefs are different from ours. It isn’t fair to deny people access to vital health care – a benefit guaranteed by law. Stripping insurance coverage for birth control is discrimination, plain and simple.
We will continue to fight – in court, the policy arena and through grassroots efforts – to make sure our clients and others like them have affordable, seamless access to contraception. You can learn more about our work fighting discrimination in the name of religion through our Protect Thy Neighbor project.