The Affordable Care Act will again be tested in front of the Supreme Court in the coming months over its requirement for the provision of certain birth control medications or procedures. The Court had previously decided a case brought by Hobby Lobby that the Act’s requirement for such measures could violate the religious liberty of business owners.
The birth control measures at issue are known as abortifacients. These are pills or devices that are considered to actually result in abortion as opposed to preventing a pregnancy.
As a result of the prior ruling, the Department of Health and Human Services provides an accommodation to businesses and other religiously affiliated organizations that relieves them of monetary responsibility for the birth control procedures. They need only file a form that states their objection to the measures. Suits were filed by seven organizations challenging the accommodation, claiming that their filing of the form would be tantamount to supporting the objectionable measures.
Supporters of the government’s accommodation say that refusal to file the form means that the non-profit organizations are imposing their own religious beliefs on employees and thereby denying them a benefit provided by the ACA. They point out that women who want to use birth control, as allowed by law and provided for in the ACA, will have to go to significant expense to do so. Further, they believe that the refusal to accept the accommodation can be considered discriminatory toward women because birth control is more expensive for women than men.
A decision in the case is not expected to cause a disruption of the ACA birth control mandates across the board. If the court sides with the religious organizations, it will likely result in some other method of ensuring birth control coverage for employees whose employers object to it being provided under their plans. Contact Labor Law Office, APC today to speak with an experienced labor law attorney in Sacramento.
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