Déjà Vu All Over Again: #HandsOffMyBC!

If this feels a lot like déjà vu, it is. In 2014’s Hobby Lobby decision, the Court’s conservatives found that closely-held for-profit employers (like the craft store chain Hobby Lobby) could not be forced to cover contraception in violation of their religious beliefs. One reason? The Court noted that the government already had a less restrictive tool at its disposal: the accommodation given to non-profit employers, which allows them to sign a form stating their objections and then shift responsibility for coverage onto a third party like their insurance company.

Now, in the cases consolidated under Zubik, a host of Catholic and evangelical non-profits are arguing that the accommodation itself violates their religious beliefs. That’s right. They are objecting to filling out the form! Instead of an accommodation, they want a complete exemption from the law. In their filed briefs, they suggest that the government could cover the contraceptive needs of affected employees, such as through the Title X family planning program—never mind that many of their allies in Congress have repeatedly voted to zero out Title X funding altogether.

The NWHN signed on to an amicus brief prepared by the National Health Law Program in support of the coverage benefit. We are confident that our side can win Zubik outright, especially since the accommodation in question was explicitly noted as an alternative in the Hobby Lobby decision.

But we aren’t stopping there. On the 23rd, we will be out on the court steps—as we have been for every attack on the ACA argued before the Court. We urge you to join us online in solidarity using the hashtag #HandsOffMyBC on social media.

Sarah Christopherson, MA, is the Legislative Director for the social justice campaign, Americans for Tax Fairness, and the NWHN’s former Policy Advocacy Director. Her 10 years working for Congress and her deep knowledge of health policy and consumer protection make her the NWHN’s issue area expert on federal health reform implementation and defense, drug and device safety and efficacy, and sexual and reproductive health.

Read more from Sarah Christopherson.