Supreme Court Rules Limiting Access To Birth Control Is Okay On Religious Grounds

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that it is legal for employers who cite religious or moral grounds to decline access to birth control coverage for women, per The New York Times.

According to government estimates, the ruling could leave as many as 126,000 women without contraceptive coverage.

The regulation, which was proposed by the Trump administration, was upheld in a 7-2 vote, with Justices Sonya Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting. The administration’s motion had been previously declined by lower courts.

The new policy change allows employers to now opt-out of the requirement set forth by former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, which mandated no-cost contraceptives — as long as they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration — for employees.

Houses of worship, such as churches and mosques, did not have to adhere to the Obama-era regulation. However, religiously affiliated nonprofit groups like schools and hospitals did, leading to many of them objecting.

The ruling is considered to be a major victory for President Donald Trump, who is heavily dependent on the Christian and evangelical groups’ vote as the November election rapidly approaches.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a big win for religious freedom and freedom of conscience,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Wednesday.

She added that the court had “once again vindicated the conscience rights of people of faith.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vehemently disagreed with the ruling, calling it “unconscionable.”

“In the middle of the worst global pandemic in modern history, the administration is focusing on denying basic health care to women that is essential for their health and financial security, instead of protecting lives and livelihoods,” she said.

The majority opinion, which was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, stated that the Trump administration has the “statutory authority” to interpret the regulation, including “the contemporaneously issued moral exemption,” per the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Ginsburg wrote for the dissenting opinion that “for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree.”

However, this legal fight may not be over, as Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer suggested in their opinions that the ruling could be attacked on other grounds in the future.

Rulings on contraceptive use and access have always been a controversial topic for the country, but have especially been a point of contention for the past two administrations, who have expressed strong opposing viewpoints on the subject.

Wednesday’s ruling follows several opinions that have been issued by the Justices over the past week. Just earlier today, they decided that employees of religious schools, hospitals, and social service centers are not protected by federal employment discrimination laws. This ruling was also concluded with a 7-2 vote, with Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissenting again.

In a move that could potentially impact the 2020 elections, the Supreme Court on Monday further upheld laws that punish “faithless electors,” as previously reported by The Inquisitr.

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