Today, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Reps. Louise Slaughter (NY), and Diana DeGette (CO), along with Ranking House Judiciary Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking House Education and the Workforce Member George Miller (CA), Ranking House Energy and Commerce Member Henry A. Waxman (CA), Ranking House Ways and Means Member Sander Levin (MI), and Ranking House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Member Jerrold Nadler (NY) in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. Those challenging the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) claim that it imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. A total of 91 House members have signed onto the brief.
These members chose to participate as amici in these cases because they want the Supreme Court to hear the full story from Congress. They strongly believe the contraceptive coverage requirement does not violate the free exercise of religion and will ensure all Americans receive vital preventive health care services. The preventive care provisions, including the contraceptive coverage requirement, are the least restrictive means of accomplishing Congress' goal of ensuring the necessary healthcare coverage for women.
In the amicus, the members explain how the legislative history of the ACA supports the conclusion that the contraceptive coverage requirement of the ACA satisfies the test applicable to a free exercise of religion challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
As the Congressional amici point out to the court: "The contraceptive coverage requirement does not substantially burden any exercise of religion in which the Corporations might be found to engage because it does not compel the Corporations to administer or use the contraceptive methods to which they object, nor does it require them to adhere to, affirm, or abandon a particular belief. It merely requires the Corporation, like other for-profit employers to provide comprehensive insurance coverage under which their employees may make their own personal decisions whether to use whatever form of contraception, if any, best suits their individualized health and wellness needs."