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United States Supreme Court Endangers Birth Control Access

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday July 8, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch back ruling that throws birth control coverage into jeopardy

Washington, DC — Today, the United States Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in Trump v. Pennsylvania, a ruling that endangers birth control access for people across the country. The majority opinion, supported by Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, upholds two Trump administration rules that allow virtually all employers and universities to refuse birth control coverage under their health insurance plans. The decision could have serious implications for the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to guarantee birth control coverage — which has benefited more than 62 million women, including at least 17 million Latinas and 15 million Black women nationwide. 

Jeopardizing access to birth control is not only an attack on reproductive health care. It's an economic assault as well, especially in the Black and Latinx community, where generations of systemic racism and discriminatory policies already create huge barriers to health care access and financial stability. Studies show access to birth control is key to gender and race wage equity. It is responsible for one-third of women’s wage gains relative to men’s since the 1960s, and access to the pill before age 21 has been the biggest factor in advancing women's college graduation rates. Allowing employers and universities to take away the ability to decide when and if to have children is an especially harsh blow from the Trump administration right now, given the failure to stem the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and economic crises this failure has caused. Today’s decision makes crystal clear that senators like Susan Collins (R-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have put their constituents' reproductive health care in jeopardy by voting to confirm Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. They have also enabled Trump's agenda to stack the federal courts with more than  200 judicial nominees.

Jenny Lawson, executive director, Planned Parenthood Votes: 

"The stakes couldn’t be higher for reproductive health care this November. This Supreme Court ruling makes clear that not even access to birth control is safe under Donald Trump and the Senators who enable him. This decision, backed by Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, puts basic reproductive health care at risk right when people need it the most. Susan Collins, Thom Tillis, Martha McSally, and Trump's other enablers in the Senate will need to answer for their roles in allowing the administration to undermine access to basic reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood Votes and our supporters will be sure they do." 

According to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, the pandemic has increased barriers to affordable birth control and other sexual and reproductive health services, especially for Black women, Latinx women, queer women, and women with low incomes, who already face difficulty accessing health care. Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-PA) pursued Pennsylvania’s challenge of the Trump administration rules all of the way to the Supreme Court, demonstrating his commitment to expanding and protecting access to reproductive health care — in Pennsylvania and across the country. 

From Trump’s gag rule on Title X, the bipartisan program that has provided affordable birth control for nearly 50 years, to the frantic efforts to stack the courts with judges, many of whom have records hostile to reproductive health, Trump and Senate Republicans have targeted basic reproductive care like birth control for years. Despite the fact that nearly 9 out 10 women will use birth control in their lifetimes, today’s decision allows Trump and his political allies to continue to zero in on attacking reproductive health care — even during a global health pandemic. 

  • President Donald Trump put two justices on the Supreme Court with records hostile to reproductive health, jeopardized access to affordable birth control and other reproductive health care with the Title X and global gag rules, called for an abortion ban on the campaign trail, and said “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions — to name just a few of his attacks on reproductive health care. Trump and his administration have sabotaged the Affordable Care Act at every turn — including backing a legal challenge that could eliminate the law — and is the first U.S. president to seek to "defund" Planned Parenthood in his budget.

  • Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) attacked access to affordable birth control and other vital reproductive health services by standing with the Trump administration's dangerous Title X gag rule, doing nothing to protect the bipartisan program that helps their constituents with low incomes access the reproductive health care they need, like birth control and HIV testing.

  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) ignored the calls of Mainers and instead stood with Mitch McConnell when she voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, ignoring the warning signs that Kavanaugh would be a staunch opponent of reproductive rights as a justice. She has voted to confirm more than 175 Trump nominees over the past three years.

  • Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) praised Trump’s gag rule on Title X, our nation's only program focused on affordable birth control and reproductive health care. The Title X gag rule forced Planned Parenthood health centers and other health care providers out of the program, endangering affordable birth control for millions of Title X patients.


From now until November, Planned Parenthood Votes will be fighting to elect health care champions who have pledged to protect safe, legal abortion:

  • Joe Biden has proven his commitment to protecting our health care and expanding our reproductive rights, including affordable birth control. He asserted that “Every woman in America should be able to have insurance coverage for birth control if she so chooses,” and said he would require private insurers to cover contraception.
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has fought to expand access to birth control because she knows that “Birth control is health care, and it should be accessible and affordable for every woman.”

  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) has always been a champion for reproductive health care. On the floor of the United States House of Representatives, Peters delivered blistering criticism of Republican politicians who aimed to limit access to birth control, saying, “The debate about contraception is really about Republicans’ deep-seated opposition to women making decisions about their own bodies. It is an outrage. It is unconscionable.”

  • Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) can always be counted on to speak out against efforts to roll back health care coverage of birth control, because she knows that “birth control is essential health care for women."


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.