Reproductive Freedom

The ACLU defends the right to reproductive freedom.

This has included challenging government interference with the right to obtain abortions and contraception, abstinence-only education in schools, discrimination against pregnant workers and pregnant and parenting students, targeted regulations of abortion providers, and so-called religious refusals to comply with laws protecting the public. Our attorneys have brought some of the major and historic challenges to abortion restrictions in Massachusetts, including overturning a law that denied funding for poor women on Medicaid to terminate a pregnancy.

In recent years, the ACLU of Massachusetts sued to end religious restrictions in a government program that denied abortion and contraception to trafficking victims, many of whom needed those services. In March 2016, members of our legal team rallied for reproductive rights at the U.S. Supreme Court during a hearing on the landmark case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

And at the national level, the ACLU has taken many reproductive freedom cases to the Supreme Court. Although the high court ruled against the ACLU and other champions of reproductive freedom in Hobby Lobbyholding that under a federal “religious freedom” law, many for-profit corporations could deny health insurance contraceptive coverage to employees on religious groundswe took our advocacy to the streets and also rely on the state constitution for better rulings.

Our view: we care about religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean imposing religious views on others, especially where a constitutional right like access to contraception is at stake.

In the Massachusetts legislature, the ACLU backs bills that would provide youth with comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate sexual education and that would facilitate access to abortion care. And nationally, the ACLU brought the case—Young v. UPS—that upheld the rights of pregnant employees.

Photo by Marilyn Humphries.

Watch ACLU videos on reproductive rights:

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