ACLU Filing Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration Contraceptive Coverage Rule

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NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit today against the Trump Administration challenging interim final rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies that would allow nearly all employers to deny their employees insurance coverage for contraception if the employer has a religious or moral objection.

The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of members of the ACLU and Service Employee International Union-United Health Care Workers West (SEIU-UHW) who are at risk of losing their contraception coverage because of where they work or where they go to school.

Kate Rochat is an ACLU member who is a law student at the University of Notre Dame and who stands to lose her access to contraceptive health care because of the rule. “No woman should ever be denied health care because her employer or university’s religious views are prioritized over her serious medical needs,” said Rochat.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU argues that the interim rules violate the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by authorizing and promoting religiously motivated and other discrimination against women seeking reproductive health care. The ACLU is joined by co-counsel Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP as well as the ACLU of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego in bringing forward the lawsuit.

“The Trump Administration is forcing women to pay for their boss’s religious beliefs,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri. “We’re filing this lawsuit because the federal government cannot authorize discrimination against women in the name of religion or otherwise.”

Dave Regan, the President of SEIU-UHW, said, “With the stroke of a pen, the Trump administration has shamelessly attempted to rip away the rights of untold numbers of women to receive essential healthcare, under the warped facade of ‘religious freedom.’ Apparently, ‘religious freedom’ to this administration is the freedom to allow bosses to make medical decisions for and discriminate against female employees. Women in the workplace need compassionate care, not doors slammed in their faces by their employers.”

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