The U.S. Supreme Court handed down three key rulings this summer in cases that the American Nurses Association (ANA) had been monitoring, two that protect the rights of vulnerable populations and another that erodes insurance coverage for preventive reproductive services for women and other healthcare consumers. ANA had filed amicus, or friend of the court, briefs in all three.
In a 5-4 decision issued June 18, the court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. ANA applauded this decision, noting that the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements calls on nurses to preserve the human rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, women, and refugees.
Justices handed down a 6-3 decision on June 15, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in the workplace. Further, they cannot be fired from their jobs due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. ANA is pleased with this progress. In the amicus brief, organizations argued that to help ensure transgender individuals’ physical and mental health and reduce stigma, LGBTQ+ individuals must be protected from discrimination in the workplace.
On July 8, the court issued a separate 7-2 ruling upholding an expansive employer exemption to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement for coverage of the total costs of contraception. ANA is disappointed in this ruling. Millions of women currently rely on employer-sponsored health insurance plans for birth control at no cost.