House and Senate Democrats File Amicus Briefs in Support of Affordable Care Act Contraception Benefit
91 House Democrats, 19 Senate Democrats, and the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) filed separate amicus briefs Tuesday in support of the contraceptive coverage benefit in the Affordable Care Act. NWLC's brief was joined by 68 other organizations, including the Feminist Majority Foundation.
The briefs are for the Supreme Court case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and the House's brief includes Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. Craft store Hobby Lobby filed a federal lawsuit in November 2012 against the Obama Administration over the mandate requiring employers to provide coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, a wood cabinet manufacturer, are arguing that this benefit violates the religious beliefs of these corporations and that they should not be required to provide health insurance plans that cover certain types of birth control.The Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge to the ACA last November, and it is currently pending.
The briefs emphasize the mandate's benefits to millions of Americans who will now be able to access crucial preventive health care, and they attempt to demonstrate that the requirement does not violate the free exercise of religion. "To them, it's a debate about 'freedom,' except of course the freedom for women to access care," said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
TAKE ACTION: Send a clear message to the Supreme Court that companies should not be able to use religion as cover to discriminate against women. Leave stories and tell the Court why BC coverage matters to you! Share the petition online using the tag #MyBodyMyBC!
Media Resources: National Women's Law Center 1/28/14; Senator Murray; Feminist Newswire 9/13/12, 11/26/13; Feminist Majority Foundation