On The Docket: Access to Contraception

Trump v. Pennsylvania (Little sisters of the poor v. Pennsylvania)

On May 6, 2020, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Trump v. Pennsylvania, also known as Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. When the Affordable Care Act became law, an estimated 62 million people gained access to birth control coverage at no additional cost. Challenges to this benefit have reached the Supreme Court twice before, but the Court did not resolve a dispute over the role of religious universities in permitting students and employees to access the benefit.

Shortly after taking office in 2017, President Trump issued regulations permitting universities and employers – including publicly traded for-profit companies – to invoke their religious or moral beliefs to withhold contraception coverage without filling out the form for an accommodation. These regulations enable employers and universities to impose their beliefs on employees and students, interfering in personal healthcare decisions and undermining religious freedom.

True religious freedom means letting people make their own healthcare decisions based on their beliefs and needs – free from employer or government interference.

But on June 8, 2020, the Court sided with the Trump administration and religious employers, undermining the ability of thousands of Americans to rely on their own beliefs and values in these decisions.

“Friends of the Court”

We joined diverse faith-based organizations and allies in an amicus brief urging the Court to protect students’ and employees’ ability to make reproductive healthcare decisions as a matter of religious freedom.

Protecting Freedom of Belief

Religious freedom is one of several fundamental rights outlined in the First Amendment. Each of us has the right to believe as we choose without interference from our employer or legislator.