by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Bulletin Volume 15, Number 40
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is pleased about yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear two cases regarding the contraceptive coverage requirement included in the Affordable Care Act. The rules implementing the ACA require all health insurance coverage to include coverage for a list of preventative health services, including the full range of FDA approved prescription contraception methods, with no out of pocket costs to women. The rule reflects the fact that medical and scientific communities agree that access to birth control is a common preventative care for women. Religious employers, such as churches and houses of worship, are exempt from the requirement to provide the new benefit to their employees. The rule went into effect in August 2012.
The two cases challenging the contraceptive rule that the court has elected to hear, involve for profit corporations who argue infringement on their religious liberty. A number of other cases are pending. ASRM believes that access to contraception is a basic health care right for women and their partners, and the decision to use birth control is one she should make herself in consult with her doctor. A woman’s employer should not have the ability to deny her access to this important preventative health benefit because of his or her personal beliefs.
ASRM has signed on to an amicus brief in some of the cases and will closely monitor developments in these cases and others. ASRM intends to be part of future amicus briefs now that the Supreme Court has decided to hear these cases.
Should the Supreme Court rule that private companies have the right to exercise religious liberty and refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control, it will set a troublesome precedent for employers to exercise denial of untold health care benefits to their employees on the basis of the employer’s beliefs.
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