Atheists Push Supreme Court to Protect Real Religious Freedom, Preserve Access to Contraception

Cranford, NJ—In an amicus brief filed yesterday, American Atheists urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject attempts by religious employers to use the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to deny contraceptive coverage to employees, even through third-party providers.

In this case, Zubik v. Burwell, religious employers claim that simply telling the government that they are opting out of providing contraceptive coverage directly, thereby allowing employees who wish to receive no-cost coverage to receive it directly from insurance providers, substantially burdens their (the employers’) religious beliefs.

American Atheists’ National Legal Director Amanda Knief, one of the authors of the amicus brief, rejects that argument.

“This case isn’t really about religious freedom. This is about employers using the excuse of religious burden to force their dogma on their employees,” said Knief. “Whether they like it or not, under the Affordable Care Act women are guaranteed access to contraception. These employers are not being forced to use contraception or provide it. Their complaint is entirely that women have access to contraception despite their disapproval.”

“The question in this case is whether the Supreme Court will allow anyone who claims a religious burden to avoid following the law—even when they have been provided an accommodation. We are hopeful that the Court will say ‘enough is enough’ and recognize that telling the government you don’t want to provide contraception is not a substantial religious burden,” Knief added.

American Atheists and Knief collaborated with legal staff from the Center for Inquiry, including Legal Director Nicholas Little and President Ronald Lindsay.

You can read the full text of the amicus brief here.

For More Information Contact:
Amanda Knief, National Legal and Public Policy Director, 908-276-7300 x9, [email protected]
Nick Fish, National Program Director, 908-276-7300 x8, [email protected]

  • Fujikoma

    I don’t understand how this argument from the religious is even allowed. Contraception coverage is compensation for employee labor and, like someone’s wages, has no reason to be controlled by a person’s employer. The religious groups might as well claim that employees be required to submit spending budgets of their paychecks for approval.

  • Justin Webb

    “Everybody worship even if you’re not churchin’ What your living for is God, power, pleasure or your job Some livin’ for they clothes, call it True Religion

    Y’all ain’t tryna hear me like them demos I be getting I think they get the memo, the Christians in the building And they been getting higher than the Keisha that you’re twisting.” ( If you do not want to accept God’s offer fine there will be a day when you are not pestered by God’s unconditional love. Do not think that i will succumb to atheist opinions about what is a big deal or not and violate God’s standards . John Piper writes: “Conflict with ugly and offensive reality is not a peaceful or pleasant affair, neither on Golgotha, nor in your bedroom or kitchen or TV room. If we are faithful, every time we meet the quivering power of sin, we meet it with a sword. No truce, no compromise, no prisoners. Fight to the death.” Your employer does dictate where you work how you work and how much you get for working and for how long, that is what happens when you apply for the Job and accepted the terms for employment. Keep making him doing things that hurt profits too, this concept of hurting smart powerful people that provide opportunities so we can reward selfish lazy people that dont create anything is a great concept. How many Jobs have gotten outsource? How many people are on food stamps again? What can you buy with just one US dollar now?

    • Shawn Payne

      Yes, your employer can set limits on where and how you work. But still has to follow the law. The problem with companies is that sometimes they act like they own their employees. Pushing your religion on people who work for you is just wrong. And that is exactly what companies like Hobby Lobby are doing.

      • gary clarke

        Hi, please forgive my ignorance (I’m in the UK) What is the issue about contraception & work?! Is contraception not available via individuals own practitioners and/or over the counter at pharmacies?

Copyright 2013 American Atheists