AU Submits Brief In Supreme Court Contraception Case

Americans United submitted a brief in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, the contraception case currently before the Supreme Court. 

From the press release:

Religiously affiliated institutions may not prevent third parties from providing contraceptive coverage for students and staff who want it, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed today on behalf of almost 250 college and university students and staff who could lose access to vital medical care, Americans United told the U.S. Supreme Court that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) doesn’t permit religiously affiliated organizations to block insurance companies from providing such coverage. The brief includes numerous descriptions from women about how access to contraception has enabled them to prevent unintended pregnancies, focus on their educational and professional goals, and treat serious medical conditions.

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“The voices of affected women have been conspicuously absent from most of the lawsuits seeking to block contraceptive coverage,” said Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper. “As our brief makes clear, women will suffer concrete and profound harms if religious objectors succeed in blocking their access to vital healthcare.” 

In the brief, Americans United delved into the numerous reasons why an university student or employee would need contraception, from pregnancy prevention to sexual assault to medical necessity. 

"Upon being sexually assaulted while an undergraduate," says one amici, "it was a comfort to me that despite the health risks I faced, an unwanted pregnancy was not among them."

Another referenced her fight against cancer and her doctor's reminders during chemotherapy and radiation "of the importance of using a reliable form of contraception and avoiding pregnancy.”

Still others testified to needing contraception to deal with menstrual cycles so debilitating that they would miss classes every month. "I personally suffered from multiple menstruation-
related health issues that were either diminished or eliminated when I started taking
oral contraceptives," says one. "The issues I suffered from, on multiple occasions, interfered with my presence in class and my focus during school. I have not had to miss a class due to
female health issues since beginning a birth control regimen."

To learn more about insurance coverage for contraception and cases involving religious non-profit, click here.