Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement today in response to the Biden administration’s proposal to take steps to restore contraceptive access to students and workers by making critical changes to Trump administration rules that allowed employers and universities to cite religious or moral beliefs to deny birth control access guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act:
“We applaud the Biden administration for proposing critical changes to the Trump-era birth control rules. Religious freedom is a core American value. So is the right to make our own decisions about reproductive health care. Today’s proposed rule is a positive step toward protecting both.
“The Trump-era rules undermined church-state separation and weaponized religious freedom to justify hurting people who depend on contraception for their health and equality. Today’s proposed rule seeks to improve people’s access to contraceptive services no matter where they work or study.
“Americans United has worked tirelessly to bring an end to Trump administration policies that sought to transform religious freedom from a shield that protects people into a sword to harm others. We’re pleased that the Biden administration has proposed to roll back many harmful Trump-era regulations that deal with birth control access, denial of medical care, and religious freedom protections for people who rely on government-funded services. While there is more work to be done, these are important steps on the path toward a country that promises freedom and equality for everyone.”
AU Lawsuit Challenging Trump Birth Control Rules
The Trump-era birth control rules are the subject of pending litigation filed by Americans United along with the National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the law firm Macey Swanson LLP. The lawsuit, Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. HHS, was filed in 2018 on behalf of University of Notre Dame students, employees and their dependents who lost contraceptive access due to both the Trump rules and an unlawful, backdoor settlement agreement between the Trump administration, the university and more than 70 other religiously affiliated organizations to settle previous lawsuits over birth control insurance coverage benefits.
The Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. HHS case is the only litigation that’s been brought on behalf of people who lost birth control access, and is the only lawsuit challenging the secret settlement agreement.
More information about Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. HHS is available here.
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications