Almost immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision this morning upholding the Affordable Care Act as constitutional, anti-abortion and anti-contraception activists began sending out press releases claiming they would continue to fight the law on the grounds that the Act funds abortion care (which is false), and through their lawsuits against the contraception mandate. Short of a Congressional repeal, which Republicans and conservative activists are still talking about, the suits against the contraception mandate remain the last judicial challenges to the law.
As I reported in March, when the Court heard arguments in the case, anti-choice activists were already gearing up to treat the possible upholding of the law as their next Roe v. Wade.They will use it to foment anti-abortion and anti-contraception activism.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents several of the plaintiffs challenging the mandate, put out a press release asserting that the Court’s ruling “means that the numerous legal challenges against the HHS mandate brought by hospitals, universities, businesses, and other organizations will move forward. . . . These lawsuits are the only remaining legal challenges to the health care law.”
These suits, of course, are based on entirely different constitutional grounds than the case decided today, in which the challengers claimed that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause. The challenges to the contraception mandate are based on claims that it violates the “deeply held religious beliefs” of Catholic and evangelical institutions, in contravention of the First Amendment’s religion clauses. Similar claims have been rejected by state supreme courts in New York and California, and many constitutional experts believe they will not fare any better in federal court. That has not stopped anti-contraception activists from continuing to litigate these claims in the court of public opinion as the suits go forward.
To read the rest of the article, head to Religion Dispatch.