We Told The Trump Administration That Religion Is No Excuse To Roll Back Birth Control Access

Most American women use or have used birth control, and most would likely tell you how important it is to them. There’s the obvious benefits: contraception lets women decide when and whether to start or grow their family, and protects their health by treating common medical conditions. But contraception also contributes to women’s equality by allowing them to pursue education and careers, and even increases the chance they will make more money. These are just a few of the reasons that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that women have seamless access to no-cost contraception.

In October, however, the Trump administration issued two new rules that let bosses and universities use religion as an excuse to deny their staff and students health insurance coverage for birth control. Religious freedom gives us the right to believe or not as we see fit, but it does not give us the right to harm or discriminate against others. There’s no doubt who will be harmed by these new rules: women, and especially low-income women who will no longer be able to afford basic, critical health care.

Yesterday, we filed public comments to tell the Trump Administration that these new rules were unfair, unconstitutional and harmful. And we joined our allies to deliver over 500,000 comments from people across the country – including Americans United supporters – who also think that attacking women’s access to health care is wrong. In our comments, we explained why women like Mary Shiraef and Alicia Baker will be harmed by this rule. With our help (and our allies at the National Women’s Law Center), Mary and Alicia are suing the Trump administration to challenge these discriminatory and unconstitutional regulations.

AU joined allies in filing comments objecting to the Trump administration's discriminatory birth control rules.

Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. So is the right to make decisions for yourself about your own health care. The Trump administration’s new rules betray both. Employers and universities should not be able to use religion as an excuse to dictate their employees’ or students’ health care choices. Stripping insurance coverage for birth control is nothing more than discrimination.

The birth control rules are not the only attacks by the Trump administration; they are part of their larger strategy to redefine religious freedom as the right to use religion to discriminate. Yesterday, Trump administration lawyers were also at the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that businesses should be able to use religion as a vehicle to discriminate against and refuse to serve the LGBTQ community.

Whether they’re using religion to discriminate against women, LGBTQ people, minority religions, nontheists or others, AU is ready to fight back any time the Trump administration attempts to trample on religious freedom and equality.