Across the country, we are seeing hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies, and other health care entities discriminate against women by denying basic care – like birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion – in the name of religion. Many of these institutions receive taxpayer funding. The ACLU works to ensure that women are not denied information and the health care they need because of the religious views of their health care providers.
We have seen a recent spate of cases in which religiously affiliated schools have fired women for getting pregnant while single or for using IVF. These cases are suggestive of a past when women were routinely pushed out of the workplace because of pregnancy. Such discrimination is now illegal, even if religiously motivated.
In many states, businesses are barred by law from discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation, as well as based on race, religion, or other legally protected categories. Increasingly, we see business owners claiming that they do not have to follow these laws but can instead refuse to provide services – including lodging, wedding dresses, and photography services – because the owners object to same-sex relationships. In addition, we see social service organizations that receive government funding deny services to same-sex couples. Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, but when you operate a business or run a publicly funded social service agency open to the public, those beliefs do not give you a right to discriminate.