Nov 07, 2018

The Trump-Pence administration continued its attack on women’s reproductive rights and religious freedom today by issuing final rules that would allow employers and universities to cite religion as justification to deny women access to birth control coverage.

“This administration is weaponizing ‘religious freedom’ to justify hurting the millions of women who depend on contraception for their health and equality,” said Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser. “Bosses shouldn’t get to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, nor should universities on their students.

“Religious freedom is a core American value. So is a woman's right to make her own decisions about health care. The Trump-Pence administration’s action today betrays both. We will continue to fight on behalf of women whose access to affordable birth control is at risk.”

In June, Americans United, the National Women’s Law Center and the Center for Reproductive Rights, along with co-counsel Macey Swanson LLP, filed Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the U.S. District Court in Northern Indiana against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor and the University of Notre Dame. The lawsuit challenges the Trump-Pence administration’s interim final rules, which were first announced in October 2017 and were the basis for today’s new final rules.

Americans United will continue to fight these now-final rules in court.

The lawsuit also challenges an unlawful settlement agreement between the Trump-Pence administration and Notre Dame to deny students, employees and their dependents insurance coverage for birth control guaranteed to them by the Affordable Care Act. The groups brought the suit on behalf of student group Irish 4 Reproductive Health and others insured under Notre Dame’s health plans.

More information about the lawsuit is available here.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.