October 6, 2017 – Americans United for Separation of Church State announced plans today to sue the Trump administration to block new regulations that let employers and universities use religion as an excuse to refuse to cover birth control on their employees’ and students’ health insurance plans. An earlier version of the rule was leaked to the media in May but the proposed regulations were formally issued today.
“Religious freedom is about fairness – it does not give anyone the right to deny women access to birth control. The Trump administration’s regulations violate the First Amendment and are a huge step backward for women’s health and equality,” said Maggie Garrett, Americans United’s legislative director.
“Religion is no excuse for employers or universities to dictate their employees’ or students’ health care choices,” added Richard B. Katskee, Americans United’s legal director. “Taking away access to contraception – a core part of women’s health care – is discrimination, plain and simple.”
“The Trump administration is carrying out the agenda of religious fundamentalists, the biggest part of the president’s remaining devoted supporters,” said Garrett. “The rights of LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, nontheists and others hang in the balance as the Trump administration continues to toe the line for its fundamentalist base.”
Americans United has already been fighting in court to ensure that religion isn’t used as an excuse to deny access to birth control. In one case, University of Notre Dame v. Price, Americans United represents students who would lose their insurance coverage for contraception under the new regulations.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental right. So is the right to make your own decisions about health care. Trump’s new regulations betray both. We’ll fight the president’s efforts in court,” said Katskee.
AU will go to court to directly challenge the Trump administration’s regulations so that these students and other women like them don’t lose access to critical health care. Americans United also plans to file comments on the regulations.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.