Attorneys General Becerra and Healey Lead Multistate Amicus Brief Defending ACA Birth Control Coverage Mandate in Supreme Court

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today co-led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting Pennsylvania in its case defending contraceptive coverage and counseling mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the brief filed in Donald Trump et al. v. Pennsylvania, the attorneys general explain that states have an interest in safeguarding the ACA’s birth control coverage requirement, which has benefited more than 62 million women across the country. The coalition argues that access to affordable birth control is critical to the health, well-being, and economic security of the states’ residents. 
“As our communities grapple with the COVID-19 public health crisis, the importance of delivering critical preventative care to women and families is more clear than ever,” said Attorney General Becerra. “More than 62 million women have benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage over the last decade. This law not only protects equality in healthcare, it supports women’s ability to control their own reproductive health, and promotes access to education, jobs and financial empowerment. We will continue to fight to keep healthcare decisions between women and their doctors, not their employers.”

“Decisions about birth control are for women to make, not their bosses, and certainly not the White House,” said Attorney General Healey. “We are urging the Supreme Court to protect the health, well-being and economic security of women in Massachusetts and across the country by upholding their right to access affordable contraception.”

In 2017 and 2018, the Trump Administration issued rules which ignored the ACA’s birth control requirement and allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees based on religious or moral objections. California successfully led a coalition of 14 states and Washington, D.C. in defending the ACA’s birth control coverage requirement. California obtained injunctions against the Trump Administration’s harmful, illegal rules in the Ninth Circuit, while Pennsylvania obtained an injunction in the Third Circuit.  
After California and Pennsylvania won injunctions that protect the birth control coverage mandate, the federal government, Little Sisters of the Poor, and March for Life filed petitions for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court granted the petitions in the Pennsylvania litigation. The petitions from the California litigation remain pending.  

In the amicus brief, the attorneys general argue that the states have a vested interest in providing women seamless contraceptive coverage. The coalition argues that tens of thousands of women will lose their cost-free contraceptive coverage if employers are allowed to exempt themselves from the ACA requirement. This loss of coverage will result in a reliance on state-funded programs that will increase the states’ costs associated with the provision of reproductive healthcare, and will likely lead to an increase in unintended pregnancies. 

Joining Attorneys General Becerra and Healey in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. 

A copy of the brief is available here.

# # #