Supreme Court Addresses New Challenges to Obamacare Contraception Mandate

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction December 31 temporarily blocking a portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires religious organizations to offer health care plans covering contraceptives. The Obama administration responded by saying the the temporary injunction is ultimately unnecessary, as groups can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called contraception mandate by self-certifying that they have religious objections to providing employees with health insurance that covers birth control. But organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, the Catholic organization in Denver for which the injunction was issued, argue that signing the self-certification letters would make them complicit in the government’s plan to include contraception coverage, as part of all health insurance plans.

A PRRI survey conducted in 2012 found that a slim majority (52 percent) of Americans said religiously affiliated social service agencies should have to provide employees with health plans covering contraception at no cost, while 43 percent said they should not be required to do so. Americans are more likely (62 percent) to believe publicly held corporations should have to provide health plans covering contraception at no cost, while simultaneously less likely (42 percent) to favor requiring the same of churches and other places of worship. Asked more generally, 55 percent of Americans say all employers should be required to provide health care plans covering contraception at no cost, while 40 percent say they should not.

This most recent case to reach the Supreme Court comes as just one of more than 90 legal challenges to the contraceptive requirement of the Affordable Care Act.