On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidation of seven cases challenging the government’s accommodation for religiously affiliated nonprofits that refuse to comply with the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Under the accommodation provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, religiously affiliated nonprofits and closely held for-profit corporations can fill out a form or send a letter to HHS indicating which services they find to be morally or religiously objectionable. Then, a third party facilitates insurance coverage for the employees of these nonprofits or corporations. The plaintiffs argue that this accommodation presents a substantial burden on their religious beliefs and are effectively requesting to be exempt from the federal law entirely.
At stake is the right of students and employees at hospitals, colleges, universities, and charities nationwide to access comprehensive health care, including critical reproductive health services. The health and economic security of thousands of women—and their families—will be at risk should the Court rule with Zubik.
Lauren Kokum is the Special Assistant for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress. Sheridan Ruiz is an intern at the Center.