The First Contraceptive Rule Case to Reach an Appeals Court on the Merits

Yesterday the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the first challenge to the federal contraceptive rule to reach an appeals court on the merits.  The federal contraceptive rule requires health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay, and despite the plethora of lawsuits, the rule is clearly constitutional.   

Yesterday’s case was brought by a mining company in Missouri, which for years has been providing contraceptive coverage to its employees.  The company’s owner, however, objected to the contraceptive rule claiming that it imposed a substantial burden on his religious beliefs. 

The district court disagreed, and held that the company owner’s religious practices were not substantially burdened.  The judge held that by providing health insurance to his employees, the company’s owner was only providing “indirect financial support” of someone else’s possible behavior.  In other words, he was simply providing a benefit to his employees – like salary – that some may choose to use to obtain contraception.  But this cannot rise to the level of a substantial burden on the company owner’s religious beliefs.  Importantly, the court also recognized that religious liberty claims cannot be used as a “means to force one’s religious practices upon others.”  Here, that would mean denying women equal benefits.  The court said that the law does not protect “against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own.” 

The brief we filed yesterday urges the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the district court’s decision.  We filed the brief on our behalf, as well the Anti-Defamation League; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; the Interfaith Alliance Foundation; the National Council of Jewish Women; the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; the Unitarian Universalist Association; and the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation.

We hope that the Eighth Circuit will affirm the district court’s decision.   

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Ain't I a Woman?

From my own experience, this isn't about "women's rights" so much as about eugenics. Women who want to and can use artificial birth control methods are in the majority, so it appears to be a "women's rights" issue. But my health care providers have pushed artificial birth control on me from the time I was 18 and in a relationship that might become sexual. First, I was put on the Pill, and became ill. They changed prescriptions, but I still suffered nausea most of each day. I also had no sex drive, which helped me delay becoming sexually active. As far as I'm concerned, women who report loss of sex drive yet continue to use hormonal birth control are pathological masochists. They'll "put out" to keep a man, thereby taking women back to the Victorian Age. Don't feed me B.S. calling it "women's rights." That crap is anti-feminist.

Next thing they gave me was a diaphragm, despite my tilted uterus and severe allergic reaction to spermicidal jellies. They told me I had to keep using it despite the pain, there was this and that medical reason why I had to avoid pregnancy at all costs. By that time, I was sexually active, but it was horrible torture. Don't tell me that's "women's rights." It's abuse, pure and simple. And then I became pregnant while using the diaphragm with spermicidal jellies, and had to put up with further abuse from the medical "profession," who called me a liar because their textbooks say women don't become pregnant if they *properly* use a diaphragm with spermicidal jellies. Well just maybe I couldn't use it *properly* because they prescribed it against recommended use: it doesn't work as effectively on women with tilted uteruses. Idiots. Oh - they "strongly advised" abortion because of my supposed "conditions" ... but I gave birth to a perfectly healthy, intelligent child who has since given me darling, perfectly healthy, intelligent grandchildren. Those medical professionals are prejudiced dumbasses.

They recommended I use an IUD, even though I told them I'm allergic to metal. They didn't care, still tried to talk me into it. In other words, they wanted to kill me, because that's what an internal allergic reaction can do. I refused.

I went round and round with them, then told them to screw off. I learned about monitoring ovulation, planned a second child, and have had no pregnancies for 31 years. But the medical "profession" still freaks out that I'm not using artificial birth control because they insist I must NOT become pregnant. They do NOT respect me as a person, nor my rights as a woman. That's why I refuse to go to any but religious doctors who don't force women to use contraception. I'm not religious, I've never been married, I had 2 children out of wedlock, and I'm sexually active, but religious doctors respect my human rights a hell of a lot more than the eugenicists who decided my genes don't fit into their social planning agenda. So don't tell me this is about "women's rights."


Do some bosses think that God told them to keep women bare foot and pregnant?

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