Supreme Court rules employers can deny birth control

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that employers could deny birth control coverage through the Affordable Care Act if the employer has a religious or moral objection. We talked about the impact of the decision on women’s health with ASU’s College of Health Solutions clinical professor, Swapna Reddy.

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court decided to allow employers to cite moral objections in order to deny their employee’s insurance coverage for birth control. Wednesday’s decision comes with both uncertainty and fear. According to government estimates, the religious exemption could lead to as many as 125,000 women losing their coverage.

The Affordable Care Act that passed ten years ago had a major provision to provide free birth control coverage to women based on their employer-based coverage.

Reddy says before the ruling there was an exemption that institutions could decline coverage, but they have to inform their insurers and they still have to provide free coverage. Now the existing exemption is making some feel that they are still paying for birth control.

The ruling according to Reddy will cause women to pay out of pocket for birth control if they are denied by their employers. A packet of birth control for a month could cost someone up to fifty dollars. Reddy says low-income women will be hit the hardest by the ruling.

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Swapna Reddy Assistant Professor, ASU's College of Health Solutions

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