Faith-based groups ranging from Catholic nuns to the Southern Baptist Convention will argue March 23 that an accommodation to require contraceptive coverage doesn’t adequately safeguard their religious liberty.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 23 in appeals from faith-based nonprofits, including the Southern Baptist Convention’s insurance provider, claiming an Obamacare requirement violates their religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court announced Friday when it will hear arguments in seven cases combined challenging regulations in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to cover preventive health care, including a full range of birth control options for women.
Some of the plaintiffs, such as the Catholic order Little Sisters of the Poor, oppose all forms of artificial birth control. Others — like Truett-McConnell College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University and Oklahoma Baptist University — object only to methods of birth control that take effect after the moment of conception.
The Department of Health and Human Services seeks to accommodate faith-based charities with religious objections by allowing them to opt out of contraceptive coverage in their own health care plans, shifting responsibility for that portion of coverage to a third-party provider.
The lawsuits say the opt-out provision forces religious nonprofits to act in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs, because the act of “self-certification” would trigger the third-party coverage of drugs they view as immoral. The cases also say the government has not proven the contraceptive mandate advances a compelling interest by the least restrictive means, a threshold in religious liberty protection enshrined by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993.
A ruling in the combined Obamacare challenges titled Zubik v. Burwell is expected by the end of June.