Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and a Pro-Choice Caucus Task Force Chair, released the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, upholding federal rules exempting employers or schools with religious or moral objections from providing contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
“Today, the Supreme Court condoned discrimination against women under the guise of religious freedom. To allow virtually any employer or school to deny women contraception because of their own moral beliefs is outrageous, wrong, and sets a dangerous precedent for an employer’s ability to deny other health care. The Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit was transformational in providing nearly 62 million women, including 17 million Latinas and 15 million Black women, with no-copay birth control coverage, giving them greater control over their economic security and health. Contraception is also regularly prescribed by doctors to address a variety of health issues. The costs for these vital prescriptions, if not covered, can be astronomical. For example, IUDS can cost as much as $1,300. As a result of today’s ill-advised decision, hundreds of thousands of women will be left to scrounge for birth control and health care on their own, and this will undoubtedly contribute to more unwanted and unplanned pregnancies,” Rep Speier said. “This is discrimination, plain and simple, and the cruelty is the point. The Trump Administration is not concerned with religious or moral liberty, it is concerned with denying women equal standing. We know that one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives, and the ability to access the pill before age 21 is the most influential factor enabling college women to stay in school. This is the progress the Trump Administration is hellbent on destroying. We won’t let it stand. Congress must pass legislation such as the Protect Access to Birth Control Act to reaffirm that everyone deserves access to birth control and the right to control their own bodies and destinies.”