Whether religiously-affiliated nonprofits have a valid religious objection to a rule that allows them to opt out of the requirement to provide contraceptive care coverage for their employees under the Affordable Care Act.
With our partners at Americans United, the Reproductive Freedom Project, and the Project on Religion & Belief, we filed amicus briefs in appeals pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Non-profit employers sued the Obama administration over a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires employer-provided health insurance to cover contraception. The employers claim that requirement burdens their free exercise of religion because they disapprove of certain methods of contraception, even though the administration has granted religious non-profits an exemption. Opponents of the law insist that even having to notify the government of their objection—which triggers a requirement for the insurance company to pay for the contraception coverage— impinged on their rights. Our brief argued that the exemption provided by the ACA strikes the right balance between religious liberty and personal freedom. The ability of women to control whether and when to become parents is not something that employers should be able to interfere with based on religious beliefs that employees may not share.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a group of consolidated cases that includes the Texas challenges to the contraception mandate. After oral argument, the Court issued an order instructing the parties to consider an alternative method for religiously affiliated institutions to opt out of providing contraception coverage, putting the onus on the insurance company to notify the government. The religiously affiliated institutions have signaled that they would accept the compromise.