Protecting reproductive freedom

Reproductive Rights

Protecting reproductive freedom by ensuring religion isn’t used to deny anyone health care

Our Constitution promises everyone the freedom to believe what they want, but not to use religion to deny others reproductive health care.

Our fundamental right to make our own decisions about reproductive health care depends on separation of church and state, the principle that ensures everyone has the freedom to live as ourselves and believe as we choose. But religious extremists and their lawmaker allies are trying to force everyone to live by their beliefs. Effectively, this license to harm others threatens all of our freedoms and widens inequality in our country.

This dangerous agenda to block people’s access to birth control, abortion care, gender-affirming treatment, and other forms of critical health care especially harms women, LGBTQ people, and people of color.

The most important issues we're facing


What You Should Know

Birth Control Benefits

Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 61.4 million people gained insurance coverage for birth control. President Biden promised to revoke Trump-era rules that allow employers and universities to use religion to deny many workers and students the coverage they are entitled to.

Judges Blocked Denial Of Care Rule

In 2019, AU and allies successfully sued the Trump administration over a rule that invited health care providers to use religion to deny medical treatment.

Politicians Use Religion to Justify Anti-Abortion Policies

Elected officials, including state legislators across the country, have tried to impose their personal religious beliefs on all of us through anti-abortion policies. The Texas law that outsources anti-abortion enforcement to citizen vigilantes is grounded in fundamentalist beliefs.

Milestones

  • Feb. 25, 2021

    The Do No Harm Act (DNHA) was reintroduced in Congress by U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Steve Cohen, Jamie Raskin, and Mary Gay Scanlon. The DNHA will restore the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to its original intent by preserving the law’s power to protect religious freedom, while also clarifying that it may not be used to harm others.

    Urge your member of Congress to support the Do No Harm Act

  • July 8, 2020

    July 8, 2020

    In Trump v. Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration didn’t violate procedural rules when it implemented regulations that allow employers and universities to use religion to deny workers and students birth control coverage guaranteed by law. But because this religious exemption causes harm, Americans United continues to challenge the rules in court on behalf of Notre Dame students, and AU is urging President Biden to revoke these rules.

    Learn more about AU’s lawsuit on behalf of Notre Dame students who lost birth control access

  • Nov. 19, 2019

    In response to a lawsuit brought by AU and allies, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s Denial of Care Rule, which invited health care providers to cite their religious beliefs to deny care to anyone, even in emergencies. Though blocked, the rule remains on the books and AU continues to fight it on two fronts – in court and by urging the Biden administration to revoke it.

    Learn more about AU’s lawsuits challenging the Trump-era Denial of Care Rule

  • June 26, 2018

    AU and allies filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Notre Dame students who lost access to birth control as a result of Trump administration rules that allow employers and universities to use religion to deny workers and students birth control coverage guaranteed by law. Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. HHS also challenges an illegal, backroom settlement between the university and the Trump administration.

    Learn more about AU’s lawsuit on behalf of Notre Dame students who lost birth control access

  • March 16, 2016

    In Zubik v. Burwell, the Supreme Court refused to decide whether religious nonprofits and universities could get an even broader religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. Instead, the court sent the cases (including one filed by AU on behalf of Notre Dame students) back to the lower courts to consider other approaches. When President Trump took office, with court proceedings still underway, he issued new rules that granted employers and universities broad religious exemptions and illegally settled all the pending cases.

    Trump’s birth control rules, explained

  • June 30, 2014

    In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) entitled for-profit corporations with religious objections to contraceptives to deny workers the birth control access guaranteed by law. In Hobby Lobby and other similar cases, AU filed critical friend-of-the-court briefs opposing corporations getting religious exemptions.

    AU is urging Congress to pass the Do No Harm Act to fix this misuse of RFRA

  • March 23, 2010

    President Obama signed the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, which requires health insurance plans provided by employers and universities to cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception with no copay. This policy was designed to improve access to birth control, which is vital to women’s health and equality. Soon after, for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations began seeking religious exemptions to avoid complying with the law, and AU fought back.

Learn More About Americans United’s Latest Work

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BREAKING:

AU calls out leaked supreme court opinion overturning abortion rights as a religious extremist assault on our democracy

"The end of Roe is just the beginning. Next on the hit list are a broad array of protections for personal liberty."—Rachel Laser, AU's CEO and President

Read our statement here