Life Legal Defense Foundation Continues to Brief Courts on the Adverse Impact of Contraceptives on Women’s Health
Throughout the United States, employers with religious convictions that prohibit them from the provision of contraceptives—particularly those that cause abortion—are bringing lawsuits to challenge the HHS “Contraception Mandate.” According to the Becket fund, there are currently more than forty lawsuits by employers who strenuously object to the current Administration running roughshod over their conscience rights.
These plaintiffs argue that the mandate violates their First Amendment Freedom of Religion by requiring them to act contrary to their sincerely held belief in the sanctity of human life. The Life Legal Defense Foundation, in conjunction with the Bioethics Defense Fund and “Women Speak for Themselves,” have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in a number of these cases for the purpose of showing that the government interest claimed (the promotion of women’s health) is not actually achieved through increased accessibility of contraception.
In the last few weeks LLDF filed friend-of-the-court briefs in several of these cases, arguing that in promulgating the contraception mandate, the government ignored substantial evidence that hormonal contraceptives pose serious health risks to women. The briefs point to the health hazards listed for this type of drug, which include higher risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular complications, greater susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections, higher risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver tumors. These risks have been documented in peer-reviewed studies, and recognized by other agencies of the federal government as well as by international health organizations.
“Before forcing employers to violate their religious convictions, the Government has to show the Mandate furthers a compelling public interest. Our brief demonstrates how far the Government is from having met its burden of proof,” states Catherine Short, LLDF’s Legal Director.
The cases in which these briefs have been filed to date include the following: Legatus v. Sebelius (East. Dist. Mich.); Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, et al., (Dist. of Col.); Priests for Life v. Sebelius (ED NY); O’Brien v. Sebelius (8th Circuit); Korte et al. v U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (S. Dist. Ill.).