Reform Movement Laments Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Restrictive Contraceptive Rules

WASHINGTON Today, the Supreme Court ruled in the consolidated cases of Trump v. Pennsylvania and Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania regarding federal regulations allowing employers and universities to invoke religious beliefs to deny contraceptive coverage to employees and students. In response to the decision, Rabbi Marla Feldman, executive director of Women of Reform Judaism and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement Institutions:

Rabbi Feldman: “We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Administration’s sweeping expansion of religious exemptions from the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. These regulations have been falsely characterized as a victory for religious freedom. In reality, the rules prioritize the religious beliefs of employers over the religious freedom and wellbeing of their employees.

We were proud to join amicus briefs in this case affirming our support for the ACA’s birth control benefit. Access to contraceptive coverage should be a universal right, not contingent on the religious or moral approval of employers and university officials. As a result of this ruling, countless individuals are now in jeopardy of losing their access to critical reproductive health care.”

Rabbi Pesner: “Reproductive freedom and religious freedom are fully compatible, yet today the Supreme Court has furthered a false narrative suggesting one must come at the other’s expense.  

The ACA struck the right balance by ensuring every individual received the contraceptive coverage they needed while minimizing the impact on religious freedom. The Court’s ruling abandoned that balance, and, in our employer-based healthcare system, it will significantly jeopardize an individual’s right to exercise their conscience by obtaining contraceptive coverage in their medical insurance plan.”

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism representing tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values. Visit www.wrj.org for more.

Published: 07/08/2020