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Reproductive RIghts in America

Texas AG Seeks To Block Birth Control Coverage For Women At Religious Nonprofits

The recently-indicted Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, has filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court which would deny insurance coverage to women if the policy pays for contraception their employers object to.

A lawsuit has been filed by East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University against the federal government over a provision of the Affordable Care Act which requires some employers–including nonprofits–to offer health plans that include contraceptive coverage. The universities oppose emergency contraceptives, including the so-called morning-after pill, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health plans with “minimum essential coverage,” which includes access to federally approved contraception for women, with no copayments or deductibles.

In his brief, Paxton said the ACA would:

 “Coerce employers to proceed with a course of action despite a belief in its religious impermissibility.”

Because hey, if you work at a place that is controlled by a bunch of religious extremists, why shouldn’t they be able to impose their beliefs on you? Isn’t that what America is all about?

The brief also states:

“Many employers around the country feel driven by their faith to care for their employees by providing them health insurance. But some employers find it incompatible with their religious convictions to provide that health insurance when it means contracting with a company that then, by virtue of that very relationship, becomes obligated to pay for drugs regarded as abortifacients.”

A federal district court sided with the universities, blocking the requirement from going into effect. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services then appealed the case to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals–considered the most conservative appellate court in the country–and the district court ruling was overturned.

In their ruling the 5th Circuit wrote that the universities had:

“Not shown and are not likely to show that the requirement substantially burdens their religious exercise under established law.”

Considering how the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby decision, it is anyone’s guess how the justices will rule in this case.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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