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UU Women Speak Out for Contraception and Freedom of Conscience

The Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation joins Catholics for Choice and other faith based organizations in urging the Supreme Court to decide in favor of the hundreds of thousands of employees at religiously-affiliated nonprofit organizations who could be deprived of their conscience rights, religious freedom, and access to healthcare in the face of the most recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Zubik v. Burwell will be heard by the Supreme Court tomorrow morning.

Kirstie Lewis, president of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation, said “Ensuring that all women, regardless of the religious convictions of their employer, have access to preventative contraceptive services is essential not only to women’s health, but also rights of women — including religious liberty, equality, and economic security — fundamental values of our faith.”

Zubik v. Burwell specifically targets the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers’ health plans provide free contraception coverage for their employees. The Supreme Court will be reviewing challenges brought by a consolidation of seven lawsuits, all alleging that the accommodation that was developed by the Obama administration allowing religiously affiliated groups to opt out of birth control coverage by simply notifying their insurer in writing “triggers” birth control coverage, thus making them complicit in an act that violates their religious beliefs. In reality, once they file the paperwork, these organizations would have no further role in the process. The insurer provides the contraception coverage and communicates directly with the employee.

Nine appellate courts have ruled on the lawsuit concerning this issue. All but one sided with the government and ruled against the nonprofits. Only the 8th Federal Circuit Court ruled with the employers.

The Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation (UUWF) has taken positions in support of the right to contraception and other reproductive health services for more than 50 years. The UUWF is one of the original members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

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