Members of Congress Sign Brief Arguing for Complete Exemption for Religious Non-profits from Contraception Mandate

More than 200 Members of Congress recently submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing in favor of the religious non-profit organizations in the soon-to-be-heard Zubik v. Burwell case.

Zubik is a consolidation of several cases heard in the lower courts involving challenges to the regulations governing employer-provided insurance for contraception. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held corporations could refuse to provide contraception coverage in the Hobby Lobby case. This year, the Supreme Court will examine whether the accommodation for religious non-profit organizations that object to providing insurance coverage is sufficient.

To be clear, these religious non-profit organizations don’t have to provide anyone insurance coverage for contraception. They just have to fill out a form saying they refuse to provide the coverage. The government takes it from there. Nonetheless, these Members of Congress claim that the accommodation for these non-profits – again, simply requiring objecting non-profit employers to fill out a form stating their objection to contraception coverage – is too burdensome.  

As we have previously stated, the non-profit challenges to the Affordable Care Act are particularly troubling. Employers should not be able to use religion to deny contraception coverage to their employees. And, if the accommodation is overturned, it would not only create real harm for employees who depend on their employers for coverage of important healthcare, but it would also send a message that religion is a tool that can be wielded against others in a way that RFRA was never intended.

207 members in total signed onto the brief, including 205 Republican and two Democratic members. To see if your Senator or Representative signed on, check out the brief here

Elise Helgesen Aguilar

Elise Helgesen Aguilar is the Federal Legislative Counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Elise graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Law School in 2011. There, she was Executive Articles Editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy as well as the founder and president of the University of Florida ACLU. After law school, Elise worked on voting rights and electoral reform as a Legal Fellow with FairVote. She also worked on successful Congressional campaigns in both Florida and Virginia. Elise graduated cum laude from the College of William and Mary in 2008 with a B.A. in Government. She is originally from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.