Planned Parenthood: Birth Control Benefit Remains in Effect for Millions of Women; Religious Organizations Are Able to Opt Out

Court filing by Obama Administration today makes clear that the religious group that filed emergency challenge is not required to cover contraception

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–January 3, 2014.  This morning, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that makes clear that the religious organization that filed an emergency challenge to the birth control benefit of the Affordable Care Act is not required to cover contraception for its employees.

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily suspended the ACA’s birth control requirement – but her order applies only to narrow questions about the administrative mechanism that certain religious groups can use to opt out of the requirement. The historic birth control benefit remains in effect for more than 27 million women who are now able to get birth control without a co-pay.

Following is a statement issued today from Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards:

“There is considerable confusion about the birth control benefit this week because of a flurry of legal challenges by political groups that oppose access to contraception. To be completely clear: The group of nuns that filed an emergency challenge to the law isn’t required to cover birth control in the first place. Churches and religious groups are already exempt or able to opt out of providing birth control to their employees, and they have been all along.

“Today, 27 million women have access to birth control without a co-pay under the Affordable Care Act, and that’s not affected by the Supreme Court reviewing the administrative mechanism that religious groups can use to opt out of covering birth control.

 “This spring, a bigger question faces the Court, which could affect millions of people:  whether women’s bosses at for-profit companies can decide to deny them access to birth control. This bigger question has a very real impact on millions of women’s lives.  For a woman making an hourly wage at a craft store in the Midwest, this is about whether she’ll pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket or have her birth control covered like any other preventive health care. This is about health care, financial security, and basic justice for women.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.