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Center for American Progress Proposes RFRA Amendment; Other Contraceptive Coverage Cases Sent Back to Lower Courts

Center for American Progress Proposes RFRA Amendment; Other Contraceptive Coverage Cases Sent Back to Lower Courts

July 2, 2014 — The Center for American Progress on Tuesday proposed that lawmakers introduce legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (PL 103-141) to negate the Supreme Court's recent ruling on Hobby Lobby's contraceptive coverage case, Politico Pro reports (Haberkorn, Politico Pro, 7/1).

The Supreme Court ruled that RFRA does not allow the federal government to require closely held companies to provide coverage for contraceptives if the corporations' owners have religious objections to contraception (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/30).

CAP said that RFRA and similar state laws can be amended to "put reasonable restrictions on religious liberty protections, ensuring religious liberty is not used as a tool to discriminate or deny needed medical care."

The organization suggested language for the amendment: "[RFRA] does not authorize exemptions that discriminate against, impose costs on, or otherwise harm others, including those who may belong to other religions and/or adhere to other beliefs" (Politico Pro, 7/1).

Supreme Court Orders Review of Other Businesses' Contraceptive Coverage Cases

In related news, the high court on Tuesday ordered further review of several other challenges to the federal contraceptive coverage rules in light of its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, the AP/Washington Times reports.

The justices on Tuesday rejected the government's appeal of a lower court ruling in which the owners of Ohio-based Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics were granted an exemption to the rules based on their individual religious objections to contraceptive coverage, as opposed to the company's rights.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, ordering the court to rule in accordance with the high court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

In addition, the high court also ordered the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling against two companies -- Michigan-based Autocam and Eden Foods -- in their similar suits against the contraceptive coverage rules (Yen, AP/Washington Times, 7/1).