Supreme Court to Finally Weigh in on Mandatory Birth Control Coverage

By Maggie Freleng

The Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments tomorrow in two related landmark cases challenging provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are the two major companies fighting against the mandate, claiming the contraceptive coverage mandate violates their religious liberty. The justices will weigh in on whether corporations have the right to deny that their insurance plans cover women’s reproductive health. The cases brought by for-profit companies and their owners are just two of nearly four dozen similar cases, all involving Christian proprietors who claim their opposition to contraception and abortion bars them from complying with that rule in the ACA.

The rule, finalized in 2012, requires that employers who provide a group health insurance plan for their employees cover, without co-pays, 20 specified contraceptive drugs and devices.
As we reported in November, NARAL Pro-Choice America took the Supreme Court's decision to grant a hearing as an opportunity to rally behind the need to protect female employees from employers - and many are now standing behind them.

Going on right now, the Center for American Progress is hosting a tweetup with the hashtag #CAPfaithchat to discuss why corporations do not have religious liberties.

Also going on today, at 3 pm, there is a #NotMyBossBusiness Google hangout to discuss tomorrow’s hearings and ask questions, a "pre-rally" for those who cannot make it to the Supreme Court tomorrow in DC. Tomorrow’s rally is from 7:30am-11:30am, and now Maryland is hoping at least 1,000 people will show up.

Today’s Google Hangout will host speakers including those from Feministing, National Women's Law Center, NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Advocates for Youth, and SisterSong.

If you missed it a few days ago, UltraViolet put out their two cents in a video about what could happen if bosses are allowed to make our reproductive health choices: "Hey, Supreme Court: No Bosses in My Bedroom."

However, some advocates are not the usual suspects in the women’s reproductive rights movement; The National Coalition of American Nuns is also backing the mandate.

Reverend Debra Haffner has started a petition with NCAN, stating, "As people of faith, we stand with the Sisters as they speak out for family planning services and real religious freedom. We join them in asking the Supreme Court to protect women’s access to basic health care and contraception when they hear two cases this March."

If you believe in affordable reproductive health care for all, join the hangout, sign the NCAN petition (only requiring 550 more signatures!), and stand with other supporters tomorrow at the SCOTUS and stand up for women's rights.

Maggie Freleng is a Brooklyn-based journalist and photographer focusing on social justice, women's issues, gender, and sexuality. Follow her on Twitter @dixiy89.

Photo on Flickr/Creative Commons by Marc Faletti(CC BY-NC 2.0)