May 16, 2016
ZUBIK VS. BURWELL: WOMEN'S ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THREATEED BY RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today the Supreme Court issued an unsigned opinion in Zubik v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “birth control mandate,” essentially remanding the issue to be heard again in appellate courts. The opinion instructs lower courts to find a compromise that respects petitioners’ religious liberty concerns while also ensuring women’s access to contraceptive coverage.
Independent Women’s Forum, who filed an amicus brief in the case, released the following statement from director of health policy Hadley Heath Manning:
"Today's Supreme Court opinion in Zubik v. Burwell is a win-win, for women and for religious liberty. Most Americans want women's access to healthcare services to be maximized, but without burdening the consciences of religious employers. The Court's ruling today suggests that this is possible, and instructs lower courts to find a way to accommodate the religious liberty concerns of petitioners while ensuring women's access to contraceptive coverage.
"Too often, lawsuits over this HHS mandate are depicted as conflicts between women's interests and religious liberty interests. This oversimplification ignores the fact that many of the mandate's challengers, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, are women. Religious freedom and employment freedom are of tremendous importance to women.
"The petitioners in this case and similar ones simply asked that the government not force them to violate their religious consciences. The opinion from the Supreme Court recognized their concerns as legitimate and instructed the lower courts to treat them as such.
"Despite the previous posturing of the Obama Administration, the government recently admitted in supplemental briefs that a compromise would be possible. Now it is up to the appellate courts to follow the instructions of the Supreme Court and find a solution that is agreeable to all parties. Given the current makeup of the Court, this is the best outcome that petitioners might have hoped for."
Independent Women's Forum works to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free-markets and personal liberty.
AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT:
Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy, IWF
Erin Hawley, legal fellow, IWF
248.885.1878 | [email protected]