Americans United is following through on a promise we made when the Trump administration announced an attack on women’s health care last month: We’ve filed a federal lawsuit challenging the administration’s new regulations that allow employers and universities to use religion as an excuse to deny their staff and students health insurance coverage for birth control.
For advocates of religious freedom and separation of church and state, Oct. 6, 2017, will be remembered as the day the Donald Trump administration delivered a one-two punch.
Ask women about birth control, and they’ll tell you they use it to protect their health and to plan their families. They are also likely to explain that it allows them to participate in the workforce and pursue their education. In other words, it’s critical to their health and equality.
New regulations issued by the Trump administration today, however, could threaten all of that. Under the regulations, bosses and universities can use religion as an excuse to deny their staff and students health insurance coverage for birth control.
Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, when Americans mark the anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. It’s a welcome opportunity to reflect on how far our nation has advanced in the fight for equal rights. And it’s a stark reminder of just how far we have left to go.
Today, in a win for women’s health, a federal appeals court issued an opinion in Real Alternatives v. Burwell that will ensure that employees at a secular, nonprofit organization continue to have access to contraception.
As new federal regulations reportedly are imminent that would gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraceptives, two Trump administration attorneys who fought for employers to be able to cite religious beliefs as justification to deny women access to vital health care have been in the news recently.
A leaked order indicates that the Trump administration is planning to allow businesses to refuse to cover birth control in health care plans if the employer has a religious or moral objection to it.
Under the Trump plan, there is no provision for women who lose access to contraceptives. They’re out of luck. Rather than provide for them, Trump and his Religious Right allies are attacking Planned Parenthood, an organization that assists women who need help paying for birth control.
Late Thursday, Americans United told a federal appeals court that women would be severely harmed by the Trump administration’s proposed change to the current requirement that health insurance cover contraceptives, a change that would allow employers and universities to use religion as an excuse to deny contraceptive coverage completely.
For months, there were reports that President Donald J. Trump was preparing an executive order that would negatively redefine religious freedom. On May 4, he signed that order – sort of.
Surrounded by faith leaders on the White House lawn and using the National Day of Prayer as a backdrop, Trump released his misleadingly named executive order, “Promoting Free Speech And Religious Liberty.”
The Trump administration plans to issue new regulations that could allow any employer to refuse to cover birth control in their employees’ health care plans by citing religious or moral objections.
Richard B. Katskee, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, responded: