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Alvare Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Contraceptive Mandate Cases

On January 11, 2016, Professor Helen Alvaré filed an amicus brief in Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.

 Helen Alvaré
Professor Helen Alvaré

The brief—filed on behalf of Women Speak for Themselves, an organization of 43,000 American women, and in support of petitioners—argues the government cannot demonstrate that the contraceptive mandate serves a compelling interest.

The government has not demonstrated a “compelling state interest” sufficient under this Court’s opinions to permit it to burden the free exercise rights of individuals or institutions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), by forcing them to obtain insurance coverage of contraception, as well as emergency contraception (“ECs”). The government has not met its burden of demonstrating that it is seeking to accomplish an interest it regards as of the highest order, particularly in light of the tens of millions of Americans already exempted from the Mandate. Nor has it met its burden to demonstrate specifically that the Mandate will improve women’s health or equal access to health services. The government further cannot show a compelling interest in administering a comprehensive regulatory scheme, nor that female employees affected by the requested exemption are impermissibly burdened.