Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined 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.
“The ACA is clear that cost-free contraceptive care and services is guaranteed,” says Attorney General Frosh. “As long as the federal government continues to illegally ignore this requirement, Maryland will continue to take action to protect its residents and ensure access to contraception.”
In 2017 and 2018, the Trump Administration issued rules that ignored the ACA’s birth control requirement and allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees based on religious or moral objections.
Maryland, along with California and a group of 12 other states, had obtained an injunction in the Northern District of California, and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, blocking the regulations in those states. A nationwide injunction obtained by Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, stopped the regulations from going into effect while litigation was pending.
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 brief, the attorneys general argue that the states have a vested interest in providing women seamless contraceptive coverage. 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 Attorney General Frosh in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.