February 15, 2013 — The lawsuits filed against the federal contraceptive coverage rules are generally advancing, despite the Obama administration's efforts to accommodate religiously affiliated employers, according to an update Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union, Politico reports.
In a brief with reporters, Brigitte Amiri -- an attorney with ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project -- noted that more than 40 for-profit and not-for-profit entities that have religious objections to birth control coverage have sued. In appellate decisions to date, three circuit courts have denied temporary relief to plaintiffs and two have allowed it.
The administration's final rule regarding accommodations for religiously affiliated not-for-profits could potentially lead to more cases being dismissed if they would no longer have to offer contraceptive coverage, Politico notes. However, legal groups representing for-profit businesses -- which are not subject to the accommodation -- said they plan to continue fighting in court.
ACLU has filed many amicus briefs in support of the federal government in the lawsuits. Daniel Mach, director of ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said, "Employers don't have a right to insist that their employees' health practices and benefits conform to their employers' religious faith" (Smith, Politico, 2/15).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership