ACLU Challenges Trump Order for Dropping Birth Control Coverage

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime announced this morning that more employers will be permitted to deny birth control coverage to their employees under new rules drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already filed a lawsuit against it.

Among other things, the ACLU will argue that the new rules violate our freedom from religion under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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.”

There's another angle from which the ACLU and other parties could challenge these new rules.

Federal agencies are required by law to undergo a standard review and period of public comment before new regulations are finalized, but HHS is skipping right over that part.

Regulators may skip the review and comment period under extraordinary circumstances, but there are no such circumstances in this case. There is no emergency.

I expect the first federal court that hears this case will block the new rules and this will be in front of the Supreme Court next year.

  • Badgerite

    They say the healthcare industry is one sixth of the US economy. The GOP and the press for years have never admitted the positive effects that the Affordable Care Act has had on the US economy and on its recovery. The legislation which was phased in gradually lifted an economic burden from the consumer. What the GOP proposes to do, sending the insurance markets and therefore the healthcare industry into a state of instability is likely to have already started to take a toll on the economy and is likely to only get worse as the bad effects of what they do take hold. But…..maybe we’ll all get some paper towels out of “the deal”.

    • JMAshby

      Re: the economy — the birth control mandate saves women $1.4 billion per year

      • Badgerite

        Those are dollars that were directed to consumer purchases and thereby to economic growth and stability.
        And what trump is doing will take those dollars out of the economy and funnel them into the pockets of ultra rich contributors who will not spend them in a way that will lead to any real economic growth.
        Since when is an employer supposed to have some say or veto power over your decisions as to birth control? How is that their “religious freedom”?

        • ninjaf

          Since Hobby Lobby and the blah man was in office.

          • Badgerite

            Yeah but an employer has a right to your full commitment to the job but not to control your life or your life decisions outside of work to the point where they are dictating decisions like that.

          • ninjaf

            Unfortunately, in GOP’s America, they do. So long as your employer has a “sincerely held belief.”


          • Here’s a question for them. If the religious beliefs of one’s employer could affect the health care one receives on a job, is it now okay to ask one’s employer about their religious beliefs? Because I sure as f*ck want to know before I take the job if he or she is going to be a d*ck about my personal health care choices. I know it’s illegal to ask a potential employee about their religious beliefs and I always assumed it was also illegal to ask one’s potential boss. However, this case opens that can of worms….doesn’t it?

          • ninjaf

            Yes, I think if you are doing your due diligence, you would have to ask. But it is going to piss them off when you do. It’s a bit of a Catch 22.

          • In which case they’ll resort to “Because my belief in White Jeebus is more important than your rights….” or some such nonsense. They don’t handle logic well, the poor dears.

        • This decision sums up the GOP mentality. Their “go to” reason is usually “it’s about business” until it comes to repressing others and then it’s about “religious liberty” or “states rights”. So all that economic BS they sling gets thrown right out the window. This is about the Patriarchy trying to undo the gains we’ve achieved–nothing more and nothing less.

      • ninjaf

        Not to mention the untold savings in unplanned pregnancies and medical procedures (e.g. surgeries for endometriosis, etc.)

  • Thank goodness for the ACLU. They have been resisting Herr Cheesypoof on every front.

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    • Christopher Foxx

      Thank goodness for the ACLU. They’ve been defending the Bill of Rights for nearly 100 years.

      • Christopher Foxx

        “Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights. So it naturally begs the question why would a Senator… chose to reject upholding the Constitution?” – Andrew Shepherd