DeGette, others file Supreme Court brief in support of ACA’s birth control coverage mandate

Apr 9, 2020
Press Release
Case challenges Trump admin rule that would allow virtually any employer to deny birth control coverage to employees.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 149 members of the U.S. House of Representatives led by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA), along with 37 members of the U.S. Senate, are urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate.

In an amicus brief filed Wednesday before the Supreme Court, the lawmakers asked the justices to strike down a Trump administration rule that would allow virtually any employer or university to declare itself exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer health plans cover birth control without out-of-pocket costs.

“The ACA’s requirement for cost-free coverage of preventive care benefits and services, including contraception, was a critical part of achieving Congress’s goal of advancing public health by improving Americans’ access to affordable health care and reducing inequalities for women in the health care system,” the lawmakers wrote in the brief.

The brief was filed in Trump v. Pennsylvania and Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania. The consolidated cases examine whether the Trump administration’s sweeping rule, which exempts employers from including birth control coverage in employee health plans, can stand.

The 186 lawmakers argued in the amicus brief that the rule is in direct violation of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage requirement. Lawmakers also emphasized that key objectives of the Affordable Care Act – including improving women’s health and expanding access to birth control – would be undermined if the Trump administration rule is allowed to go into effect.

“The ACA has been successful in achieving Congress’s goal of improving women’s access to preventive care, including contraceptive coverage. Since the passage of the ACA, women’s health care coverage has increased and out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptive services have decreased significantly for millions of women. Congress’s goals in enacting the ACA would be severely undermined if the Departments were permitted to carry out the Exemptions,” wrote the lawmakers in the brief.

Since the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate went into effect in 2012, over 60 million women nationwide now have coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs.

“The Trump administration has been working furiously to turn back the clock on women’s rights,” DeGette, who co-chairs the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, added. “By undermining comprehensive contraceptive coverage, this rule puts the health and well-being of millions of women at risk. We cannot let it stand.”

Oral arguments on the case – which were originally scheduled for late April – were postponed because of the coronavirus.

Read the amicus brief here.