HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his staff will make history Wednesday when they deliver oral arguments in a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the Trump Administration’s rules on employers ignoring requirements that they provide employees with birth control and contraceptives coverage based on the employers’ religious beliefs.
The public, for the first time, will be able to hear arguments as they happen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Shapiro also said during a teleconference with reporters, with WNYNewsNow in attendance, that the case will determine the future of reproductive rights of Americans.
“Reproductive rights are on the line here. Guaranteed contraceptive coverage is on the line and, so to, importantly, is the rule of law,” Shapiro said. Shapiro says he and Congress tried “repeatedly” to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed under the Obama Administration. When the ACA wasn’t repealed, Shapiro says Trump issued “illegal” executive orders.
“We can not, in good faith, allow for federal agencies to dismantle laws they don’t like and don’t have the votes to change,” Shapiro said. “Allowing employers to dictate how and for how much you can receive your birth control aims to systematically break the law. The will of the people ensured that everyone in this country will be provided with affordable health care and access to treatment.”
“Tactics like this to take that away are not just wrong, they’re illegal. And as we poise ourselves to make these arguments to the highest court in the land, we are prepared to continue to do what we’ve done for years. Winning the big fights on behalf of all Pennsylvanians.”
WNYNewsNow asked Shapiro what gives him and his team confidence that they can win in next week’s case. Shapiro indicated that results from previous hearings have been in his staff’s favor.
“I have tremendous confidence in our argument, in our preparation,” Shapiro said. “I think I’m confident that we’ll do well.”
Shapiro says that several lower courts have ruled in favor of his office during a two-and-a-half year battle with the Trump administration, adding the administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act by “lacking good cause” with the rules that they implemented.
In addition, Shapiro says that the Trump Administration violated Congressional authority with their rules.
Shapiro says that several attorneys general, including New York AG Leticia James, have expressed their support for his staff in the case. He adds that James’ staff has provided “much needed, and very important support” to his staff.
WNYNewsNow reached out to the New York Attorney General’s Office for comment. The office released the following statement:
“Employers should have no role in reproductive health care decisions about their employees, yet the Trump Administration’s rules call for just that. This is not about religion. It’s about whether women can control their health care choices. We will continue to fight for health care access for all, including reproductive health care.”