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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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