For Immediate Release
Sam Gerard, firstname.lastname@example.org, 334-782-9960
(Washington, DC, April 8, 2020) — In a Supreme Court brief filed today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) asked the high court to reject the religious right’s arguments for an exemption for key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including contraceptive coverage.
The AHA co-signed an amicus (friend of the court) brief alongside the Center for Inquiry and American Atheists supporting the State of Pennsylvania in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home, Petitioner v. Pennsylvania, et al. The Supreme Court has postponed oral arguments during the global pandemic.
AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller commented, “Once again, we see religious zealots demanding special treatment and exception to the rules to which we must all adhere. Allowing churches to stymie the rights of women would in fact violate the Establishment Clause’s separation mandate.”
The case follows the friction between the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, meaning that health care provisions provided by employers must offer contraceptive coverage, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which offers a religious exemption to adhering to some parts of the health care law. If the Supreme Court upholds RFRA’s ability to create religious exemptions from the proceeding law, then it significantly weakens the contraceptive mandate and makes compliance with that mandate only voluntary. The brief argues, “RFRA was never intended to grant religious groups an absolute veto over government policy in this fashion.”
AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt emphasized, “Using religious objections as a loophole for employers to deny women health care coverage is abhorrent. An employers’ faith should not impact employees’ access to health care or other basic rights.”
# # #
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.