The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on Tuesday that Autocam Corporation, a for-profit entity that provides manufacturing services for automotive and medical industries, must comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate.
Autocam claimed that providing contraception coverage in their health care plans at no extra cost for employees violates their religious rights. The Sixth Circuit rejected Autocam’s arguments and determined thatsecular, for-profit corporations are not protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law protecting religious exercise rights from federal laws that burden those rights.
Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement following the decision: “Religious liberty is a fundamental right, and everyone should be free to practice their beliefs as they see fit. However, companies cannot break the law by withholding coverage for health services just because they have a religious objection. Nearly every woman uses contraception at some point in her life. This law ensures that employers do not discriminate against their workers by making it difficult for them to obtain the care they need.”
Over 40 secular, for-profit corporations, have alleged that providing contraception coverage in their employee health care plans at no cost violates their religious rights, and a total of 70 federal lawsuits have been filed by opponents to the birth control benefit. Federal courts across the country have been split on whether or not secular, for-profit businesses can be exempt from compliance, suggesting that the Supreme Court will be forced to rule on the issue soon.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 9/17/2013; US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Opinions 9/17/2013