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Birth Control Goes to the Supreme Court

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One of These People
Brigitte Amiri,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
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November 26, 2013

Today the U.S. Supreme Court accepted for review two cases challenging the federal contraception rule, which requires the inclusion of contraception coverage in health plans. One of the cases was brought by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts supply chain with over 13,000 employees. The other case was brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania wood furniture company.

It makes sense that the Supreme Court agreed to review these cases. Ever since the rule passed in 2011, there have been a spate of lawsuits, and a patchwork of court decisions throughout the country.

But as we have said in our friend-of-the-court briefs in these cases and others, the contraceptive rule should be upheld. Providing employees with a benefit – like paying their salary – that some employees may use to obtain health care that their employer finds objectionable, does not infringe on the company’s owner’s religious beliefs. While religious liberty is a fundamental right, the courts have not allowed religious beliefs to be used to deny others benefits or services or to be used to discriminate against others.

As for next steps, the briefs will be filed by the parties in the coming months, and oral argument will be held in the spring. The Court could decide the case any time between oral argument and the conclusion of the Court’s term in June.

We hope that our nation’s high court resolves this issue once and for all by affirming that religious beliefs cannot be used to deny women health care coverage.

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