Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases relating to employers’ obligation to provide their employees with access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The cases, Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania and Trump v. Pennsylvania, arose after the Trump administration expanded existing rules that already allowed private employers with religious or moral objections to opt out of providing coverage. The Trump administration’s new rules permit employers to opt out without any requirement to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of their election. In response, Pennsylvania and New Jersey sought to block the new rules, arguing that they violate both the substance of the Affordable Care Act and the federal laws governing administrative agencies because they were promulgated without a notice and comment period. In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing guidelines, the Court held today’s oral arguments telephonically.
JCJ Board Chair Julie Bank and JCJ Lawyers’ Committee Co-chairs Ariella Simonds and Lisa Laffer issued the following statement regarding these hearings:
“Even during the unprecedented times of the current health pandemic, we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that the rights for which we have fought over many decades remain intact. As a faith-based organization, the Jewish Center for Justice is proud to support the Affordable Care Act’s mandate granting all women access to birth control. Impinging on the rights of women as autonomous decision-makers with respect to their own bodies is an affront to all who hold sacred the values of fairness and equity. Together with our partners in the faith, legal and advocacy communities, we will continue to stand up for women, support access to healthcare for all, and advocate for faith to move us forward, not backward.”