The Supreme Court is about to hear another major case about birth control
Like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores before it, yet another case about women’s access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act is going before the U.S. Supreme Court and this one could be a doozy.
In late March, the highest court in the land will hear arguments over the legality of mandated birth control coverage under the ACA as it applies to religious organizations. It’s a debate that’s been raging on since the ACA was passed in 2010: Why should religious and faith-based organizations have to cover birth control in the health insurance policies of their female employees? Doesn’t it violate their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religious beliefs?
As it stands, religious organizations are currently allowed to object to covering birth control for their female employees and may pass the “burden” of figuring out how to pay for the medication to the insurance company, thus washing their hands of the situation entirely. If they fail to do so, they can face steep fines.
“Many religious ministries are being forced to choose between violating their sincere religious beliefs or violating federal law,” says Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who are co-plaintiffs in the upcoming case.
Their argument is that even this caveat, which absolves them from paying for contraception, still indirectly involves religious organizations in providing female employees with birth control access and violates their beliefs in the process.
If the Supreme Court should side with the religious organizations as they did in last year’s Hobby Lobby case, it may become that much harder for women to gain access to birth control under the ACA if they’re working for any organization — including hospitals, non-profits, universities, and other faith-based programs — that take a religious objection to the use of contraception.
Here’s hoping SCOTUS upholds the rights of women who obviously care about helping others to also take care of themselves and their sexual health.
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