Washington, D.C., May 16, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s sidestepping on the legality of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate opt-out provision for religiously affiliated groups.
This provision both accommodates religiously affiliated employers and ensures their female employees have access to no-cost prescription contraception insurance coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Instead of ruling on whether the provision violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Court sent the case back to four lower courts with instructions to modify the provision in ways that guarantee employee access to this contraception coverage, but do not require religiously affiliated employers to give any notice of their faith-based objections to providing it.
"This should have been an easy straight-forward decision, so we are disappointed that the Court punted on the merits of this case," said Seth M. Marnin, ADL Vice President of Civil Rights. "We firmly believe that the current opt-out provision, which merely requires filing a one-page form, accomplished its objectives of respecting religiously affiliated employers’ sincerely held beliefs while providing their employees with access to no-cost contraceptive coverage.
"The good news is that the decision appears to preserve the ACA contraception mandate for employees of religiously-affiliated organizations," Mr. Marnin added. "However, when and how they receive this coverage remains unresolved. Therefore, this decision further delays tens of thousands of employees having access to affordable contraception."
ADL urged the lower courts to expeditiously follow the Supreme Court’s instructions and ensure that these employees receive the no-cost contraception coverage required by the ACA.
Joined by a diverse group of religious and civil rights organizations, ADL filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case entitled, Zubik, et. al v. Burwell, et. al, which argued that the current contraception mandate accommodation provision for religiously-affiliated groups does not violate RFRA. The groups joining the brief include: Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice; Hindu American Foundation; Interfaith Alliance Foundation; Japanese American Citizens League; The Jewish Social Policy Action Network; Keshet; National Council of Jewish Women; The Organization of Chinese Americans; People for the American Way Foundation; Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; Religious Institute; and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.