BREAKING: SCOTUS Rules On Religious Exemptions For ACA Birth Control Mandate (VIDEO)

Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidation of cases brought before the Supreme Court by non-profit religious institutions, insisted that the religious exemption to providing medical insurance to their employees that covers birth control was not good enough. Filling out the forms to be excluded from that mandate was both a burden to their faith and triggered a process for employees to seek birth control elsewhere.

Seriously, they want to be allowed to insist that their employees not use birth control, ever. They don’t just want to not have to offer insurance to their employees that covers birth control, they want the whole mandate thrown out. Never mind that birth control is an essential part of every woman’s health care, they want it gone.

The ruling, or rather, non-ruling, was handed down today. The case was sent back to the lower courts to decide. The institutions who challenged the ACA mandate must provide those courts with an alternative plan for how their employees can seek and obtain birth control without an ACA mandate to have the case heard once again.

The decision means that SCOTUS believes there is a compromise that can be made in the lower courts.

The decision was, in large part, inspired by the reluctance of the more conservative, male members of the SCOTUS. Their argument in favor of the challengers to the mandate showed why those justices don’t seem to get what the problem is with eliminating this mandatory coverage.

“The challengers argue there other ways for female employees to receive the contraceptive care. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who was defending the accommodation, and some of the liberal justices countered that those alternatives ignored the original aims of the Affordable Care Act. But the conservatives on the court seemed to agree with the challengers and wondered, Why can’t all these female employees just go out and get a second insurance plan for their birth control?”

Because, hey, insurance plans are super cheap, right? A single mother can totally squeeze another insurance plan into her budget, outside of the one that her paycheck is already covering.

An employer should have no right to insist that their employees’ sex lives be regulated should they work for a religious institution or anywhere else. Just as the Roe v Wade decision made into law in 1973, a woman should have the right to privacy in decisions she makes with her medical provider.

Why is this still such a challenge, 43 years later?

For Rachel Maddow’s take on the challenge to the ACA mandate, see video below:


Featured image via Getty/Mark Wilson