Press Releases

Warner Signs Onto Amicus Brief to Support Affordable Access to Birth Control

Next Month, U.S. Supreme Court will hear Zubik v. Burwell, yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control policy

Feb 19 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, along with 32 Democratic Senators, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the need to protect women’s access to affordable birth control. The brief was filed ahead of next month’s arguments in the consolidated cases of Zubik v. Burwell, yet another attempt by some employers to interfere with women’s access to health care by denying the women and their families insurance coverage for birth control.

“The Administration’s accommodation for employers under the Affordable Care Act strikes the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and providing women access to affordable birth control. As a result, women across the Commonwealth have access to affordable birth control and are empowered to make their own decisions about health care, without interference from their bosses,” said Sen. Warner. “However, next month, the Supreme Court will hear yet another challenge to women’s access to health care. I was proud to join my colleagues in the House and the Senate in urging the Supreme Court to make the right decision to protect women and families, while also respecting employers’ religious liberties.”

You can read the full brief by clicking here.

Right now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health insurance plans to cover the full range of FDA-approved birth control, without any out-of-pocket costs. Millions of women are already benefiting from this provision. Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the requirement, and the law also allows some employers who have cited religious objections to “opt-out” of offering health insurance plans that cover contraception.                                               

Nonetheless, some employers want to further deny their workers access to insurance coverage of birth control. In Zubik v. Burwell, these employers have challenged the ACA’s birth control policy in court, arguing that even the “opt-out” process violates their religious beliefs. In the Senators’ amicus brief, they argue that the policy—and its “opt-out” process—strikes the right balance between respecting religious liberty and ensuring that the women who work for these employers are able to receive coverage of birth control. The Senators also warn that striking down the policy may open the floodgates to even more challenges to public health and anti-discrimination laws.

The bicameral amicus brief was filed with the Supreme Court and was signed by 33 Senators and 90 members of the House of Representatives who were part of Congressional passage of the ACA. Other Senate signers include Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sens. Patty Murry (D-Wash.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N. Mex.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).