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PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit today ruled against a Pennsylvania company that makes wooden cabinets and furniture and its owners that wished to avoid compliance with the federal rule requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. The court upheld a lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction.
This case is one of more than 60 across the country addressing the rule mandating contraception coverage. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, as well as in similar cases recently heard by three other courts of appeals. The ACLU's brief in support of the federal rule urged the court to require Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation to comply with the requirement to provide employees with health insurance coverage for all preventive services, including contraceptive care. With this decision, there is now a split in the circuits.
"While the Constitution ensures that we are entitled to our religious beliefs, it also safeguards against having someone else's beliefs imposed upon us," said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. "Businesses cannot deny women coverage for something as fundamental as contraception by using the owners' personal beliefs as an excuse for discrimination."