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It Doesn’t Matter How Many Lawsuits Are Filed, the Contraception Rule Is Constitutional

Brigitte Amiri,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
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December 20, 2012

Sheer repetition of an incorrect argument does not make that argument correct. This holds true for the lawsuits challenging the federal contraception rule, which ensures that millions of women will have access to contraception without a co-pay. Those who are trying to eliminate the rule in the courts have now filed almost 45 lawsuits. They can file 100 lawsuits, but it won’t change the legal analysis. As we’ve said before, the contraception rule is constitutional. For the last five decades, courts have held that rules designed to eradicate discrimination – like the contraception rule – cannot be trumped by a business owner’s religious beliefs.

Courts in Illinois and Oklahoma have recently agreed, and refused to block the rule. As the court said in Oklahoma, the rule does not substantially infringe on a business owner’s religious beliefs. The company challenging the rule, Hobby Lobby, employs over 13,500 people. The court said that “many of those employees are likely to have different religious views. Moreover, the employees’ rights being affected are of constitutional dimension—related to matters of procreation, marriage contraception, and abortion.” Company owners cannot use their religious beliefs to deny their employees equal benefits.

Just recently, we filed in two other cases in Missouri and Pennsylvania. And we’ll be keeping a close eye on cases from Colorado, Illinois, and Missouri that are headed to the next level in the courts. We hope that all these courts will follow the long history in this country of protecting laws designed to eradicate discrimination.

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