"Advocates know that they are not alone in this fight for women's health care rights and thank Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor for dissenting in this decision. We also appreciate the leadership of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who has been very vocal in her opposition to the rule that will now go into effect due to this Supreme Court ruling.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
"Health Care For All is extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has sided with the Trump-Pence Administration in their continued attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) piece by piece, especially during the biggest pandemic the world has faced in the last 100 years. Today's devastating ruling allows the implementation of a federal regulation that makes it easier for any employer or university to deny coverage for birth control for employees and students by claiming a moral or religious exemption. Over 61 million women nationwide have benefited from this provision since its implementation in 2012, including 1.4 million Massachusetts residents. Potentially 125,000 people across the country may see their access to reproductive health impaired by this misguided decision.
"In simple words: the Justices have ruled 7-2 that employers have the right to determine if women can access birth control merely based on their beliefs. This is not only wrong, but also discriminatory against women, and will further disproportionately impact low-wage workers, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ people who already face barriers to care. This ruling also sets a dangerous precedent that can open the door to discrimination for other communities and services.
"Massachusetts has many protections in statute under both the 2006 health reform law, as well as the ACCESS Act, the 2017 law that requires fully insured plans to provide coverage for contraception with no consumer cost-sharing. However, workers in Massachusetts who depend on self-insured employer plans, which comprise over half of all private insurance plans, may face coverage denials or out of pocket expenses for contraceptive methods, if the employer claims one of the greatly expanded exemptions. Health Care For All strongly believes that everyone should have the right to access preventive care, including birth control, regardless of the type of insurance they have, the company they work for or the school they attend.
"Health Care For All joins other federal and state advocates in urging Congress to take on this issue and pass the Do No Harm Act (S. 593/ H.R. 1450). This federal legislation would ensure that institutions and individuals do not continue to exploit the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to undermine people's health care, civil rights, and other legal protections."