NNEDV Reacts to the Decision in Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Xavier Becerra
April 17, 2023
A statement from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV):
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) condemns the recent ruling in Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Xavier Becerra, in which a federal district court in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act’s preventative services requirement, which are essential for domestic violence survivors. The stricken requirement mandated that insurance companies and employers offer health insurance plans that cover preventative services, including: screenings for intimate partner violence (IPV), sexually transmitted infections, and cancer; HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and breast- and chest-feeding support. The federal government appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and requested a stay while the case continues—meaning the prevention services will stay intact as the case winds through the courts.
If the ruling remains, however, people could be forced to pay out-of-pocket for these essential services.
Preventative care and screenings improve health outcomes and save lives, especially for domestic violence survivors. For example, IPV screenings help connect survivors with intervention services, which can help with their immediate safety and long-term stability and health. Additionally, PrEP is a tool in survivors’ belts that can help prevent them from contracting HIV as a result of reproductive coercion or sexual assault they may experience from an abuser. And access to affordable or free preventative services can be a lifeline for survivors experiencing financial abuse who are unable to afford medical care. All people deserve the right to comprehensive health care, including preventative screenings and sexual and reproductive health care.
Additionally, this ruling would further harm communities already facing the brunt of health inequities, including Black people, Indigenous people, People of Color, people with disabilities, low-income people, people experiencing violence (including domestic violence), and people in the LGBTQ+ community. Nobody deserves to be stigmatized or prevented from accessing services that allow them to have control over their health.
While PrEP was singled out in this case based on Braidwood Management’s incorrect and bigoted complaint that the preventative services requirement “forces religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use,” this type of ruling has far-reaching consequences, reducing safety and furthering restrictions on the bodily autonomy of people across the United States. Allowing this kind of bias to dictate health policy and patient care will cause irreparable harm.
Instilling values of autonomy and agency, and centering those experiencing harm, are key to ending both HIV and domestic violence. Through our Positively Safe project, NNEDV will keep working to address the intersection of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. We are also committed to working across movements with other HIV and health advocates to educate policymakers, the media, and the public, and to continue urging more progress toward a nation that is safe and equitable for all of us.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization working to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.