Supreme Court Upholds Trump Administration Regulation Letting Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage

Source: The New York Times

The regulation was the latest attempt to undermine the “contraception mandate,” a signature initiative of the Obama administration.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Trump administration regulation that lets employers with religious or moral objections limit women’s access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act and could result in as many as 126,000 women losing contraceptive coverage from their employers.

The 7-to-2 decision was the latest turn in seven years of fierce litigation over the “contraception mandate,” a signature initiative of the Obama administration that required most employers to provide cost-free coverage for contraception and that the Trump administration has sought to limit.

In a second major decision on religious rights on Wednesday, the court ruled by another 7-to-2 vote that employment discrimination laws did not apply to teachers in religious schools. Last week, by a 5-to-4 vote, it said state programs that provide scholarships to students in private schools may not exclude religious schools.

The three decisions were part of a broad examination of the relationship between church and state over the 15-year tenure of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in which the court’s conservative majority has almost always sided with religious groups.

Many religious groups praised the contraception decision. “The government has no business forcing pro-life and religious organizations to provide drugs and devices that can destroy life,” John Bursch, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Organizations seeking to protect access to birth control and abortion denounced the ruling as an assault on women that, as NARAL Pro-Choice America said on Twitter, “gave the Trump administration a green light to attack our birth control coverage.”

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