ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN FILES BRIEF OPPOSING ROLL BACK OF CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE MANDATE
Madigan, 19 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief in Support of Pennsylvania Lawsuit
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan and a coalition of 19 attorneys general today filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania supporting Pennsylvania’s lawsuit to stop the federal government’s roll back of a requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that employee health insurance plans cover contraceptive care.
Madigan and the attorneys general argue that the government’s interim final rules are unconstitutional because they allow the federal government to prioritize certain religious beliefs over a woman’s right to make choices about her own health care. The rules announced in October enable any employer with a religious or moral objection to contraception to block their employees, and employees’ dependents, from receiving health insurance coverage for contraceptive care and services.
“Health care decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor – not by her employer or the government,” Madigan said. “I filed this brief because women should have coverage for contraception as part of their health care.”
Since the ACA was enacted in 2010, most employers who provide health insurance coverage to their employees have been required to include coverage for contraception, at no cost to the employee. As a result of the ACA, more than 55 million women in the United States, including hundreds of thousands in Illinois have access to contraceptive care with no out-of-pocket costs. Although Illinois law also requires insurance plans to cover contraceptive services, 63 percent of private sector employees in Illinois are enrolled in a plan that is not covered by the Illinois law and are at risk of losing their contraceptive coverage if their employer chooses to remove it.
Madigan and the attorneys general also argue that the rules discriminate against women and deny equal protection under the law by allowing employers to assert religious beliefs as a justification for denying critical benefits, while leaving coverage for men unchanged. Additionally, they argue that the federal government is taking away the right to contraceptive coverage – a right that millions of women rely on – in violation of the ACA itself, without any opportunity for public comment or a careful review of the issue as required by federal law.
Joining Madigan in today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.