Supreme Court Upholds Trump Administration Regulation Letting Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage – The New York Times

On Wednesday, in a concurring opinion written by Justice Kagan, they said that the Affordable Care Act itself authorized regulators to create exemptions for employers with religious objections, noting that the Obama administration had adopted one limited to houses of worship. Whether the Trump administration had provided adequate justifications for its much broader exemption, Justice Kagan wrote, was a question for another day.

Even in an area of broad statutory authority maybe especially there agencies must rationally account for their judgments, she wrote. The court returned the case to the appeals court for consideration of other challenges to the regulation.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the five more conservative members of the court, agreed that the Affordable Care Act had authorized regulators to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections. But, unlike Justice Kagan, he did not suggest that the regulation remained vulnerable to a new legal challenge.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said the majority had given religious belief too much power.

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, she wrote. 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.

Justice Ginsburg added that the ruling would have vast practical consequences, forcing poorer women to forgo contraception or use less effective methods.

The Obama and Trump administrations have taken very different approaches to contraceptive coverage.

In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which includes a section that requires coverage of preventive health services and screenings for women. The next year, the Obama administration required employers and insurers to provide women with coverage at no cost for all methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The regulations exempted houses of worship including churches, temples and mosques from the contraception requirement. But nonprofit groups like schools and hospitals affiliated with religious organizations were covered.

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Supreme Court Upholds Trump Administration Regulation Letting Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage - The New York Times

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