By Brittany Oliver, ACLU of Maryland
Although a springtime snowfall was in full effect, the ACLU of Maryland this week proudly joined coalition partners and thousands of advocates at the Supreme Court for a "Rally for Birth Control" in Washington D.C.
The two cases involved are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. At issue are bosses at for-profit companies who, based on their own personal religious beliefs, don't want to comply with the law that requires health plans to include no-cost coverage for contraceptives.
The Affordable Care Act requires that employer health plans include coverage for preventive services. And the federal government has issued regulations defining contraceptive care as one of the services that must be covered. Honoring this requirement would make effective birth control more affordable for millions of women.
Why is birth control so important? Of course, it allows women to prevent unwanted pregnancies and plan the timing of pregnancies. But many important uses are less well known. More than 6 out of 10 women use birth control for health reasons like treating endometriosis, regulating their cycle, or reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.
While extremists did their best to advocate for religious control of women's bodies and healthcare choices, pro-choice rally-goers at the Supreme Court outnumbered them, proudly raising our signs and voices.
Progressive organizations that helped organize the rally included the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, National Women's Law Center, Naral Pro-Choice America, Human Rights Campaign and many more. Testimonials were offered, as well, by several college students, doctors and nurses, and religious leaders.
The ACLU believes women should be able to make decisions about reproductive-health care without interference from politicians - or bosses.
Learn more about the ACLU's work on women's rights here