Court OK’s limiting free birth control on religious grounds


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld Trump administration rules allowing some employers to refuse to provide free contraceptive coverage on religious grounds.

The high court on Wednesday said the Trump administration acted properly when it allowed more employers who cite a religious or moral objection to opt-out of covering birth control.

The Obama-era health law said most employers must cover birth control as a preventive service, at no charge to women, in their insurance plans.

“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.

The government had estimated that the Trump administration rule changes would cause about 70,000 women, and at most 126,000 women, to lose contraception coverage in one year.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited those numbers in dissenting.

“In accommodating claims of religious freedom, this Court has taken a balanced approach, one that does not allow the religious beliefs of some to overwhelm the rights and interests of others who do not share those beliefs. Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree,” she wrote.


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