Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, when Americans mark the anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. It’s a welcome opportunity to reflect on how far our nation has advanced in the fight for equal rights. And it’s a stark reminder of just how far we have left to go.
Today, in a win for women’s health, a federal appeals court issued an opinion in Real Alternatives v. Burwell that will ensure that employees at a secular, nonprofit organization continue to have access to contraception.
As new federal regulations reportedly are imminent that would gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraceptives, two Trump administration attorneys who fought for employers to be able to cite religious beliefs as justification to deny women access to vital health care have been in the news recently.
Late Thursday, Americans United told a federal appeals court that women would be severely harmed by the Trump administration’s proposed change to the current requirement that health insurance cover contraceptives, a change that would allow employers and universities to use religion as an excuse to deny contraceptive coverage completely.
In early May, President Donald J. Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing an executive order that was aimed at allowing bosses and universities to use religion as an excuse to deny their employees and students insurance coverage for contraception.
When President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order last week, he claimed it would protect religious freedom. The order instead tramples it. Here’s why: it weaken the protections for houses of worship and may open the door to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, women, religious minorities and others under the guise of religious freedom.
Americans United has worked for decades to protect Americans’ access to effective and affordable birth control, standing up to foes who seek to use religion as an excuse to deny healthcare that is so vital to women and their families. Contraception is crucial to women’s health and equality.
You probably haven’t read much lately about Neil Gorsuch, the federal appeals court judge President Donald J. Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court – but that’s about to change.
Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee starts on Monday. The first day will be taken up by statements from committee members and Gorsuch himself. On Tuesday, Gorsuch will start answering questions.
On Tuesday, the White House issued a statement, claiming President Donald Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights.” The very next day, though, we saw a draft executive order that contains perhaps the most sweeping attack on LGBTQ and women’s rights in the name of religion that we have ever seen.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions wrapped up its hearing on Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education at 8:45 last night, and will be back at 10 this morning to hold another confirmation hearing. Up today: Trump’s pick for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).