On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Zubik v. Burwell and related cases challenging the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) mandate. The HHS mandate requires health plans to cover contraceptives (including abortifacient contraceptives) and sterilization procedures. Religious nonprofit organizations engaged in charitable ministry are not exempt from the mandate. In a set of cases involving the Little Sisters of the Poor and a number of other religious organizations, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court decisions that it had taken up for review and sent those cases back to the lower courts.
The Court stated:
Given the gravity of the dispute and the substantial clarification and refinement in the positions of the parties, the parties on remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans “receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.”
The Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS), has asked for comments from the public on how best to accommodate stakeholders who have religious objections to contraceptive and sterilization coverage, while assuring that people with no religious objection to such coverage can still obtain it.
Recommended Actions to Take Immediately:
- Please send your written comments to HHS on or before September 20.
- Your comments can be filed electronically here.
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also commented on this issue. Read the Bishops’ comments here(link is external).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on this alert @HumanLifeAction.
For more information visit www.humanlifeactioncenter.org