Reproductive freedom under the Affordable Care Act
The ACLU-MN along with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project filed a friend of the court brief in a case that centers around the legality of a part of the Affordable Care Act. At the heart of the case is whether a for-profit company must comply with an important benefit in the ACA that ensures women access to insurance coverage for birth control without any out-of-pocket costs.
Annex Medical, a medical device manufacturer based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and its owner, Stuart Lind, have asked the court for an exemption from the ACA's contraceptive coverage benefit. Annex Medical challenged the regulations on several grounds, including an alleged violation of their religious freedom as it is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In it's brief the ACLU-MN argues that access to contraception is essential to a woman's ability to participate fully in society. Therefore, neutral laws designed to promote equality and eradicate gender discrimination cannot be trumped by religious liberty. To exempt for-profit employers from the mandate would result in the imposition of the owner's religious beliefs on their employees.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction for the case that allows Annex to abstain from providing contraception coverage until the case is decided. The case is currently awaiting a hearing date at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The brief was written by Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU-MN & the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.