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Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Reproductive Rights Clinic Joins Lawsuit Over Birth Control Access
The Reproductive Rights and Justice Project, a new clinic at Yale Law School, has joined a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP defending women's equal access to coverage of contraceptives. The case challenges interim final rules released last week by the Trump administration that threaten to curtail access to birth control coverage for thousands of women.
The rules—which were issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury— would undermine the seamless access to birth control coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act by allowing any employer, health insurance provider, or university to claim a religious or moral objection to providing their employees, students, and insurance beneficiaries coverage for contraception. The lawsuit is one of many independent suits being filed across the country by a coalition of civil rights organizations in response to this decision.
“This latest act of hypocrisy by the so-called ‘pro-life’ Administration will impede the efforts of women to avoid unwanted pregnancies and likely reverse the decrease in abortions that resulted from the ACA’s mandate to make the most effective contraceptives available to women at no cost." — Priscilla Smith
“Contraception has been pivotal for women’s health, reproductive freedom and economic security, and the Trump Administration’s actions stand to rob women of their ability to control their lives and futures,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Restricting a woman’s ability to decide whether and when to have children by denying access to contraception is unacceptable, discriminatory, and unconstitutional. The Center for Reproductive Rights is committed to challenging the Trump Administration’s flagrantly anti-woman agenda and shutting down this latest assault on women’s health and reproductive rights.”
“This latest act of hypocrisy by the so-called ‘pro-life’ Administration will impede the efforts of women to avoid unwanted pregnancies and likely reverse the decrease in abortions that resulted from the ACA’s mandate to make the most effective contraceptives available to women at no cost,” said Priscilla Smith ’91, Clinical Lecturer in Law for Yale Law School’s Reproductive Rights and Justice Project clinic.
Tuesday’s challenge is led by Autumn Katz, Hillary Schneller, and Madeline Gomez of the Center for Reproductive Rights; David Leviss, Sara Zdeb, and Jennifer Sokoler of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP; and Priscilla Smith. The case was filed on behalf of members of Medical Students for Choice and other individual women who could lose access to contraceptive health care because of the rules. Students involved in the case include Miriam Becker-Cohen ’18, Rebecca Chan ’18, Laura McCready ’18, Nora Niedzielski-Eichner ’18, Laura Portuondo ’18, Faren Tang ’18, D’Laney Gielow ’18, Camila Vega ’18, and Samantha Schnell ’17. The case was filed Tuesday, October 10, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The full complaint submitted Tuesday is available here.
Students in the Reproductive Rights and Justice Project gain firsthand experience in fast-paced litigation and timely and strategic advocacy in a highly contested area of the law, confronting complicated procedural problems as well as substantive constitutional law questions in an area where established doctrine is under siege.