Last month, the Supreme Court heard June Medical v. Russo, a case challenging Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. However, this is not the only reproductive rights case that SCOTUS will be hearing this year. In Pennsylvania v. Trump and Little Sisters v. Pennsylvania (these cases have been consolidated), the Court will hear a case that will determine whether employers and schools can deny insurance coverage of birth control to employees and students on religious grounds.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act of 2010’s birth control benefit, employers and universities were mandated to offer birth control coverage for their employees and students. In 2018, the Trump administration finalized rules that undermine the ACA’s birth control benefit, effectively allowing for institutions to discriminate under the guise of religious objection. These rules were challenged in courts across the country, and a case brought forth by Pennsylvania and New Jersey prompted the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a nationwide injunction blocking these rules.
We know that the outcome of this case will critically impact access to birth control for millions of people across the country, especially people who already have less access to comprehensive, affordable reproductive health care services. It would also set a very dangerous precedent for allowing religion to be used as a means to discriminate and take away rights from certain populations. The Reproductive Health Access Project has signed onto an amicus brief urging SCOTUS to strike down these rules. While this case was originally scheduled to be heard in late April, the Court has decided to postpone oral arguments this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometime in the first two weeks of May, they will be heard by telephone conference. We will keep our supporters updated as the time comes.