With Religious Liberty for All: A Defense of the Affordable Care Act’s Contraception Coverage Mandate

Author(s): 
Frederick Mark Gedicks
Publication Date: 
October 18, 2012

ACS is pleased to distribute “With Religious Liberty for All: A Defense of the Affordable Care Act’s Contraception Coverage Mandate,” an Issue Brief by Frederick Mark Gedicks, Guy Anderson Chair & Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School, which raises the question of whether government must excuse religious persons from complying with a law they find burdensome, when doing so would violate the liberty of others. Gedicks concludes: “One’s religious liberty does not include the right to interfere with the liberty of others.”

In the Issue Brief, Gedicks refutes the allegation made in over 30 pending lawsuits that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for preventive health care services, including some contraceptive services, without cost sharing by the employee, violates the religious liberty rights of employers who object on religious grounds to the use of contraception. As Gedicks explains, the contraception mandate “strikes a careful and sensible balance of competing liberty interests by exempting religious persons and organizations who do not externalize the costs of their religious beliefs and practices onto others who do not share them.” According to Gedicks’ analysis, the mandate does not violate the rights of religious employers under either the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.