House Pro-Choice Leaders React to Supreme Court’s Decision in Zubik v. Burwell

May 18, 2016 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C.– Three leading pro-choice members of Congress who led an amicus brief before the Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell released this statement regarding the Court’s order today:

“The Obama Administration’s balanced accommodation respects the beliefs of religiously-affiliated organizations and ensures that all women have access to basic contraceptive services. Nearly all of the Circuit Courts of Appeals have already recognized women’s right to contraceptive services regardless of where they work. We’re confident that the lower court will do the same,” said Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Under the ACA, every insurance plan is required to provide preventive care for all enrollees at no out-of-pocket cost. For women, that preventive care includes any FDA-approved method of contraception. Recognizing that some employers have religious objections to contraception, the Obama Administration created an accommodation for religiously-affiliated nonprofits to ensure they could continue to express their religious objection to contraception, but their employees could still seamlessly access the health care they choose at no additional costs.

In February, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) joined Congressman Nadler, Congresswoman DeGette, and Congresswoman Slaughter in submitting an amicus brief in this case on behalf of 123 Democratic members of Congress (90 House members and 33 senators). Senator Al Franken (MN) and Senator Patty Murray (WA) joined by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) led the brief in the Senate.

The brief argues that access to birth control is critical to women’s health. Since 2013, women have saved $1.4 billion on the birth control pill alone and more than 55 million women have accessed free birth control.  Further, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), on which the non-profits are basing their case, was intended to protect religious rights, not exert one person’s religious beliefs over another. The current accommodation does not burden the nonprofits’ religious beliefs and achieves the government’s goal of providing more women access to critically important health care.