US Supreme Court Allows Broader Religious Exemption to Birth Control Coverage

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed a plan by President Donald Trump’s administration to give employers broad religious and moral exemptions from a federal mandate that health insurance they provide employees covers women’s birth control.

The court ruled 7-2 against the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which challenged the legality of the administration’s 2018 rule weakening the so-called contraceptive mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, that has drawn the ire of Christian conservatives.

The mandate requires that employer-provided health insurance include coverage for birth control with no co-pays. Previously, many employer-provided insurance policies did not offer this coverage. Republicans have sought to repeal Obamacare, signed by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama in 2010.

Rules implemented under Obama exempted religious entities from the mandate and a further accommodation was created for religiously affiliated nonprofit employers, which some groups including the Little Sisters of the Poor objected to as not going far enough.

The Trump rule would allow any nonprofit or for-profit employer, including publicly traded companies, to seek an exemption on religious grounds. A moral objection can be made by nonprofits and companies that are not publicly traded. The Trump administration exemption also would be available for religiously affiliated universities that provide health insurance to students.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)


  1. I think it probably costs MORE to not provide birth control coverage. If women don’t get contraception, it’s unlikely they’ll stop having sex altogether, so they’ll have more babies. This is probably a good thing for the Little Sisters, but if you’re running an insurance company, it’s likely going to be more expensive to insure a population like that. Right?

    So, if a company raises its moral objections and says its female employees should not enjoy birth control coverage, that company should pay more for its choices, right? Like insuring somebody who smokes. Let’s see how long “moral objections” endure on those terms.

  2. I wonder why there aren’t more men up in arms about this SCOTUS ruling considering how much they complain about wearing a condom.

  3. I did a very quick search on the marketplace to see what I could purchase myself.

    According to the website, I can enroll in one of the best Gold plans, at full price, and get better coverage for a lower cost than what my employer and I contribute to my employer provided plan – from the same insurer.

    If my company just gave me the money that they contribute, I could buy my own plan with less out-of-pocket costs and have money left over. If they just covered the cost of the plan instead, it would cost them less than what they’re paying now.

    It would take some work to convince me that employer-provided is somehow better than what I could buy myself.

  4. Ed: yeah, it’s not as if there are any alternatives or anything, right?

    “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.” King Donald The Loser

    “We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.” Kellyanne Conway

    “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through.” Tom Price

    “We have to get rid of the artificial lines around the states.” King Donald The Loser

    “I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” King Donald The Loser, 60 Minutes

    Something seems to be missing. Oh, right! REALITY, and the fact that they never meant a word of what they promised!

    We MUST elect better politicians.


  5. Maybe employer-based health insurance isn’t the best solution to begin with…

  6. And this administration CONTINUES its full-throated attack on American women.

    We MUST elect better politicians.


  7. This stinks as it implies a company can force their religious views on you… it will be nice to see the list of companies invoking this apparent right.

    For a lot of companies, this is going to be a no brainer addition to their benefits package. Very small cost, but high reward.

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