SisterLove, Inc., along with National Partners, file amicus brief in defense of birth control access
Updated: Dec 6, 2018
SisterLove, Inc., the National Women’s Law Center, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and the National Asian and Pacific Islander American Women’s Forum recently filed an amicus brief, (also known as a “friend of the court” brief), with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This brief is the combination of our 40+ reproductive justice partners in and around Atlanta. This brief argues to the court to uphold the national court order preventing this administration from limiting access to healthcare.
Here is some backstory: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased access to reproductive healthcare by drastically reducing the cost of care and contraceptives. The Trump Administration is attempting to reverse the successes of the ACA and increase costs of healthcare and contraception.
This Trump-Pence policy will allow virtually any employer or university to deny insurance coverage for contraception and related services to employees, students, and their dependents.
This will harm individuals’ health by increasing unintended pregnancies and health risks, and by aggravating medical conditions currently managed by contraception; undermine individuals’ autonomy and control over their lives, and threaten gender equality and economic security.
Sister Love Inc. collaborated with 43 other organizations to draft a brief arguing against IFRs and sent it to the US Court of Appeals in the 9th district as they hear the case of CALIFORNIA v ALEX M. AZAR II.
Many of the populations we serve have limited access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, and the government cannot condone further marginalizing of these populations through expanded exemptions for religiously- or morally-biased employers. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women, and HIV-related and pregnancy-related complications remain within the ten leading causes of death for Black women aged 20-54 and 15-34 years, respectively. Women and girls who live in rural areas, almost 4 million of whom are estimated to be women of color, also experience worse maternal and child health outcomes than those in urban areas because there is a shortage of family planning services, OB/GYN care, and HIV and AIDs-related care. Furthermore, the rate of unintended pregnancy is highest among young low-income women, who are disproportionately women of color, highlighting the need for reproductive health care that includes education, counseling, and contraception.
The very foundation of reproductive justice is under attack by this impending decision. We will never give up on reproductive justice! We urge the Departments to revoke these interim final rules because they harm millions of people who previously benefited from cost-free access to preventive services such as counseling for sexual health and reproductive care, contraceptive care, sterilization, IVF and other fertility services, and abortion.
We demand that the Departments repeal the interim final rules expanding religious and moral exemptions to the ACA's contraception mandate. The consequences of the laws, which make the mandate virtually meaningless, will be felt hardest by low-income under-employed people—including Black women and other people of color, people living with HIV and AIDS, LGBTQ+ Individuals, people facing language barriers, rural families, and low-income families. These rules further push such individuals to the margins, compromising their bodily autonomy to choose if, when, and how to create and raise their families. We cannot afford to be marginalized any further.
All people deserve the right to make free, unfettered decisions about their reproductive health and bodily autonomy without the burden of cost or coercion.
The Trump-Pence administration is attempting to use all of the power at their disposal to interfere with our birth control and control our bodies. SisterLove Inc. and its amici partners have exposed precisely what is at stake in this litigation: the health, freedom, equality, and livelihoods of people who can become pregnant, especially those who already live at the intersection of multiple forms of discrimination and barriers to care. The court of appeals should defer to the lower court’s decision that these rules are dangerous, were issued illegally, and must be blocked from taking effect.
Want to learn more, check out the whole brief here.