(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) filed a complaint against the Trump Administration’s interim final rules that allow employers and universities to cite religious or moral objections in order to deprive employees and students of birth control coverage. The organizations filed the lawsuit on behalf of five women who are at risk of being denied birth control coverage: Mary Shiraef and two other students at Notre Dame, an employee at a university in Illinois, and Alicia Baker, an employee at an Indiana church whose insurance provider objects to some forms of birth control.
“Blocking access to basic health care that 99 percent of women use at some point in their lives is unlawful, discriminatory and harmful,” said NWLC President & CEO Fatima Goss Graves. “Everyone deserves birth control coverage, no matter where they work, how they are insured, or where they go to school. Our lawsuit aims to shut down this latest assault by President Trump on women’s health, equality, and economic security.”
“As a graduate of seminary school, member and employee of a church, I believe taking birth control in no way violates my religious beliefs. It’s a personal decision I make to plan my family,” said plaintiff Alicia Baker. “Putting barriers in the way of accessing birth control puts ordinary women’s lives on the line, like mine, and I am challenging these rules on behalf of us all.”
In the lawsuit, NWLC and AU argue that the interim final rules violate the Administrative Procedures Act, the Establishment Clause and equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution, and the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act. NWLC and AU are joined by co-counsel Dentons. The NWLC/AU lawsuit is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed against the interim final rules in courts across the country.
“Women deserve better than to have their most intimate and personal medical decisions subjected to a boss’s religious veto,” said Richard B. Katskee, Americans United legal director. “President Trump’s zeal to curtail access to birth control is mean-spirited and shortsighted—and his actions are unconstitutional. That’s why we’re taking him to court.”
Experts from NWLC and AU, and plaintiff Alicia Baker are available for interview.
The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.