A federal appeals court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate cannot be enforced against people who are in labor.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that a provision of the law that requires employers to cover contraceptives in their health insurance plans cannot be applied to the millions of people who don’t qualify for subsidies.
The decision comes in a case brought by a group of women who said that they were forced to pay the full cost of the birth control in their own health plans under the Affordable Health Care Act.
The court also sided with two women who filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.
The women are not named in the decision.
“We are thrilled that the court agreed with us, and that the government cannot be held liable for the cost of contraception coverage for all the American women,” said Kate Suesman, executive director of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which brought the lawsuit.
“This is the latest in a series of high-profile decisions that confirm that the contraceptive mandate is not a tax or a penalty and that its enforcement is entirely voluntary,” Suesmen said in a statement.
“This case will provide additional clarity for all women about the consequences of their own behavior and will allow them to decide whether to remain in their current employer-provided insurance plans or choose other coverage that meets their needs.”
In her ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that the provision requires women to have health insurance to purchase contraceptive coverage and noted that this provision would require women to buy their own birth control, including the cost.
The contraceptive mandate has been an issue in the court’s recent term, as the justices have been hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul.
The mandate has led to the cancellation of birth control coverage for millions of Americans and forced many employers to offer it at no cost.