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Catholics Urge SCOTUS: Protect True Religious Liberty and Birth Control Access

March 23, 2016

Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, the latest case to challenge the implementation of the no-cost birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Catholic hierarchy has been a major player in challenging this employee benefit, and it has been leading the charge in Zubik.

“The Catholic bishops would have you believe that this case is about religious freedom,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “The reality is that this is about money and how Catholic business interests can have their cake and eat it, too.

“Catholic healthcare and nonprofit organizations are multi-million dollar businesses,” continued O’Brien. “They have large investments with federal contracts and since 2011, the bishops have waged an aggressive lobbying campaign to protect those interests, so they could have their federal dollars and discriminate, too. The loophole being challenged in Zubik is the result of that campaign.

“If Zubik et al. win, it could be disastrous for the hundreds of thousands of employees at Catholic nonprofit organizations, schools and hospitals. For the Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, the loss of benefits could be tremendous for employees and students.

“And the irony is, a win for the plaintiffs will actually be catastrophic for real religious freedom. At stake in these cases are the religious liberty rights of all workers in the United States—their rights to live their lives according to their own beliefs and consciences, and their freedom from having their employers’ beliefs forced upon them.”

O’Brien concluded, “The Supreme Court must decide: will the religious liberty of employees and their dependents be respected, or will employers be allowed to trample upon their consciences and personal lives? We hope the Supreme Court will get it right this time.”

Learn more about Zubik v. Burwell and the business of Catholic nonprofits.

Advocates for women’s rights, social justice, separation of church and state, reproductive rights and justice and LGBT rights discuss the implications of Zubik.

Catholics for Choice and nine other Catholic organizations filed an amicus brief with the Court.