WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued a ruling ensuring that women have access to birth control with no copay no matter where they work. A number of religiously affiliated nonprofits, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, had challenged the requirement that they fill out a specific government form. This marks the fifth U.S. Court of Appeals to rule that the accommodation to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit does not or likely does not infringe on the liberties of religiously affiliated institutions.
The court wrote: “We conclude the accommodation scheme relieves plaintiffs of their obligations under the mandate and does not substantially burden their religious exercise under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or infringe upon their First Amendment rights.”
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
"Yet another court has affirmed what we already know: These claims are baseless and ultimately about paperwork — not religious freedom. Religious groups have been exempt all along and will continue to be, which is why every appeals court has rejected these claims.
“At the end of the day, this benefit respects religious liberty while providing much-needed preventive care to millions of women. Let this case serve as yet another reminder that the birth control benefit is having a transformative effect on millions of women's lives. As a result, women now save $1.4 billion a year on birth control pills alone — showing the clear economic impact that access to no-copay birth control has had on women’s lives.”
Religious Refusal and Birth Control:
- A lot has changed for women in the past 50 years, in large part thanks to access to birth control. Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named family planning, including access to modern contraception, one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more women can access birth control than ever before. Without insurance coverage, birth control pills can cost up to $600 a year, out of reach for many women already struggling.
- A recent study published in Health Affairs found that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women have saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone. Before the ACA went into effect, contraceptive costs accounted for between 30 percent and 44 percent of women’s total out-of-pocket health care costs.
- This is an issue of access to health care, not religious liberty — and the majority of Americans agree. Ninety-three percent of female voters support access to birth control with no copay, and a majority of Catholics and Republicans women voters agree that corporations should provide its employees with health insurance that covers contraception.