HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut officials stood on the steps of the state Supreme Court building to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision that restricts access to contraception.
The court Wednesday upheld a Trump administration rule that allows employers with “sincere moral or religious objections” to deny their employees access to free contraceptive coverage.
“An employer’s personal beliefs and opinions should never interfere with a woman’s own personal health care decisions,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said.
The decision will deny no-cost contraceptive services for between 70,500 and 126,400 women, according to court documents.
The ruling was the result of President Donald Trump’s decision shortly after taking office to narrow the so-called contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA exempted only religious organizations like churches from the no-cost contraception requirement. The exemption was extended in 2014 in the Hobby Lobby lawsuit to include employers with moral objections.
The decision in that case triggered lawsuits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The government then stood in for the Little Sisters of the Poor and took an appellate court decision against the religious order to the Supreme Court.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said there’s no state that can protect women from this decision.
“No state, not even Connecticut , can protect itself from this decision because its effect is on the availability of vital medical health care for women. This medical care is time-sensitive, it is critical to women having control over their bodies, their futures and their families,” he said.
However, “this is not the end of the story and you can be assured that legally we will fight this battle,” Blumenthal said.
While the courtroom battle might be over for now, the ultimate impact of the decision could be shaped by the outcome of November’s presidential contest.
Blumenthal said elections matter and they have consequences.
“A president of the United States. A new president. Could pull this rule. Rescind it,” Blumenthal said.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who is not a lawyer, said, “I thought this was settled law. You know, the right to contraception. The right to choose. You know, I’m old. I thought this went back to when I was a kid. I thought this was established law.”