Task Force Joins Amicus Brief in Support of Birth Control Coverage in the Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, DC, February 22, 2016—The National LGBTQ Task Force joined 28 other local and national LGBTQ rights, civil rights, youth advocacy, and reproductive health, rights and justice organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of respondents in Zubik v. Burwell. The brief, co-authored by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and the Reproductive Justice Clinic at New York University (NYU) School of Law, asks the Court to uphold the contraceptive coverage accommodation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Equality opponents are seeking to remove this vital component of the landmark act to further control the reproductive health care choices of millions of Americans.

“A Supreme Court decision that allows discrimination under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ would drastically restrict the ability of LGBTQ people to control our reproductive health and sexual lives. Many of us, including cisgender women, transgender men, intersex and gender non-conforming people, can get pregnant and rely on a full range of reproductive health options, including birth control, in order to make the best decisions for ourselves,” said Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director.

Currently, the ACA requires health insurance plans to cover birth control at no cost—and also allows religiously affiliated employers and for-profit corporations with closely-held beliefs like Hobby Lobby to opt out if they submit a form stating their religious objection. But a group of employers say the form itself violates their religious beliefs because their employees can still get birth control through a third party.

If the Supreme Court were to decide against protecting access to birth control, or allow the lower court’s decision to stand, it would establish a legal precedent that would have broader and more alarming implications. For example, if an employer can refuse to cover contraceptives because of religious beliefs, they could also use religion to refuse to cover other vital health care such as HIV/AIDS medication and PrEP.

The additional organizations that signed-on to the brief include: ACT for Women and Girls, Advocates for Youth, Black Women’s Health Imperative, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Casa de Esperanza, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Desiree Alliance, Farmworker Justice, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, MANA, A National Latina Organization, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), National Network of Abortion Funds, Northwest Health Law Advocates, Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SisterSong National Women Of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Voto Latino, Women With A Vision, Inc (WWAV) and WV FREE.