Employer Provided Birth Control

SHJ Condemns New Rule that Employers do Not Have to Provide Birth Control to Their Employees


The Society for Humanistic Jews updates its 2012 resolution condemning “conscience clauses,” which argued that religiously-affiliated institutions as a whole should not be able to refuse or impede access to reproductive healthcare to all individuals, including their employees (see shj.org/humanistic-jewish-life/issues-and-resolutions/conscience-clauses/).  In light of the current Administration’s October 2017 decision to significantly loosen the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most providers of health insurance provide birth control to their employees, SHJ reiterates that the Administration’s decision undermines reproductive health and provides “employers a license to discriminate against women.”[1]   

The current Administration’s new rule states that if the employer can show a “sincerely held” religious or moral objection, it does not have to provide birth control to its employees.  Hence, this new rule goes beyond the protections and accommodations for religiously-affiliated institutions under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and shields non-profits, for-profit companies, other non-governmental employers, and schools and universities from providing birth control to their employees if the employers claim a religious or moral objection.  As SHJ noted in 2012, and underscores now, we believe that employers should not be able to use religion as a way to deny legitimate and lawful reproductive healthcare and accurate medical information concerning reproductive healthcare to its employees who do not share the same religious or moral beliefs. Women should not be denied birth control because of their employer’s religious beliefs.


Accordingly, we, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, support an inclusive system that facilitates healthcare opportunities for individuals of all religious or moral beliefs. Thus, we oppose “conscience clauses” and new regulations that allow employers to be exempt from generally applicable requirements mandating reproductive healthcare services be provided to individuals or employees.


 — October 2017