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IU Maurer professor argues ACA contraception mandate benefits women’s health and economic stability

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Another battle over the Affordable Care Act goes before the Supreme Court of the United States today as the justices hear two cases challenging the contraception coverage mandate in the health care law.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 13-354, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-356, raise the issue of whether the First Amendment or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allow a for-profit corporation to deny its employees health insurance for contraceptives based on the owners’ religious opposition to birth control. The ACA includes an exemption for some religious organizations but not for for-profit businesses.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Dawn Johnsen co-authored an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Guttmacher Institute and Sara Rosenbaum, professor at George Washington University, in support of the contraception coverage guarantee. The brief details the harm to women, their families and the public health that would result if the court were to rule in favor of the corporations and argues that the proper interpretation of the law avoids these harms.

The cases before the Supreme Court are not the first challenges to the contraception provision. The University of Notre Dame tried to get a preliminary injunction against the birth control mandate but failed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division and on appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In her brief, Johnsen and her co-author, former acting solicitor general Walter Dellinger, argue that allowing for-profit employers to deny women access to contraceptive coverage will force many women to use birth control methods that are not optimal for their health and are far less effective.

They further argue that the empirical data shows if the court allows employers’ religious objections to limit women’s health care decisions in this way, women not only will suffer economic harm and an affront to their own religious and moral views, they also will experience greater numbers of unintended pregnancies, some of which will end in abortions.
 

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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