RCRC Statement on Supreme Court Decision Granting Employers Religious Exemptions From Contraceptive Coverage

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Melanie Bui Larsen
Director of Communications and Outreach





(Washington, D.C.) – Statement by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Trump v. Pennsylvania:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Pennsylvania will allow employers and universities to invoke religious or moral beliefs in order to withhold contraception coverage from employees and students under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is unacceptable.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global economic crisis have highlighted just how important health care is. Right now, we need more health care than ever, not less. The Trump v. Pennsylvania ruling disproportionately affects those most vulnerable in our society who have the most to lose, including low-income families, low-wage workers, young people, and undocumented people who are already struggling, and others who already face barriers to quality, affordable care, like Black, Indigenous, and women of color, and LGBTQ people.

In 2013 alone, the ACA helped people save over $1 billion in out-of-pocket costs for birth control pills. As a consequence of today’s ruling, anywhere from 70,000 to 126,000 individuals could lose contraceptive coverage from their employers. They will be forced to hunt for other forms of coverage and/or pay out-of-pocket for birth control, which often results in switching to less effective methods or ceasing birth control altogether. This is especially alarming when access to abortion is constantly threatened by conservative lawmakers, many of whom are using the current health crisis to attempt to ban abortion outright.

Using the cover of “religious freedom,” this ruling makes bad economic and health care situations even worse, and it impedes people’s ability to make health care decisions based on their own conscience and values. It is part of a concerted effort to use religious freedom as a cover to further a political agenda rooted in white Christian nationalism.

This agenda has, for decades, targeted reproductive healthcare as one of many strategies to inflict control on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.

There is no religious freedom in this political agenda. We condemn lawmakers and religious leaders who have the audacity to distort sacred texts and claim “religious liberty” when their intent is to uphold white supremacist, Christian nationalist, classist, and patriarchal systems of oppression.

True religious freedom does not seek to control the lives of others. True religious freedom honors the diverse beliefs and principles that guide employees’ lives and is not manipulated to defend discrimination or impose a single set of beliefs on diverse communities. Today’s ruling shows a callous disregard for people. RCRC will continue to use our voice and moral authority to advance religious and reproductive freedom and to close gaps in access to the care people need to lead healthy and dignified lives.

The fight continues. We will work to engage and mobilize people of faith and clergy to advance true religious and reproductive freedom. This is far from over!”


The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a national community of religious organizations and faithful individuals dedicated to achieving reproductive health, rights, and justice. Through education, organizing, and advocacy, we seek to elevate religious voices wherever faith, policy, and our reproductive lives intersect.

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