A Loss for Women Today in the High Court

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ACLU Blog of Rights

A Loss for Women Today in the High Court

(Photo: ACLU)

The highest court in the country ruled today that it is acceptable for closely held corporations to use their religious beliefs to take away benefits guaranteed to their employees by law – something the Supreme Court has never before sanctioned. Everyone has the right to his or her religious beliefs, but those beliefs cannot be imposed on others.

At issue in today’s case is part of the Affordable Care Act that requires health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay. This law was designed to ensure women’s equality by eliminating the disparities in health care costs between men and women, and to ensure women have the ability to make decisions about whether and when to become parents, which in turns allow them to participate equally in society.

Women who work at Hobby Lobby and other closely held companies with religious objections to providing contraception coverage will now be denied that coverage, which will impact their reproductive health and other aspects of their lives. These women will also face dignitary harm knowing that their employers are singling out health care coverage that only women need.

Most women – including myself – will not lose their contraceptive coverage as a result of today’s decision. But today, we all lost. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The ACLU will fight to ensure that all women get the contraception coverage they need and deserve.  For starters, we call on Congress to fix today’s decision to rectify today’s injustice. We hope you will join the fightwith us.

Brigitte Amiri

Brigitte Amiri is a Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.  Brigitte is currently litigating multiple cases, including a challenge to South Dakota's law that requires women seeking abortion to first visit a crisis pregnancy center before obtaining an abortion, a restriction on Medicaid funding for abortion in Alaska, and a law in Texas that has forced one-third of the abortion providers to close their doors.  Brigitte is also heavily involved in the challenges to the federal contraception benefit, and was one of the coordinators for the amicus briefs in the Supreme Court.  Brigitte is an adjunct assistant professor at New York Law School, and has been an adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College.  Brigitte serves on the Law Students for Reproductive Justice's Board of Directors.  Before joining the ACLU, Brigitte worked as an attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services in the Foreclosure Prevention Project and at the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Brigitte graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1999 and from DePaul University in 1996.

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