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Press Releases 2016

Media Contact:
Carolyn Browender
202 986 6093

For Immediate Release
22 March 2016

More than 30 Members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice Urge Supreme Court to Protect Real Religious Freedom

As the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments about Zubik v. Burwell, more than 30 members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, a broad alliance of faith-based, secular and other national organizations, endorsed the statement below in support of real religious liberty for all. If you would like to contact any of the coalition members, please see the media contact list following the statement.

On March 23, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Zubik v. Burwell, seven consolidated cases brought by nonprofit religious organizations that claim that the employee contraceptive coverage benefit in the Affordable Care Act violates their religious freedom. 

The petitioners in these cases, including Priests for Life, Southern Nazarene University and Little Sisters of the Poor, assert that filing a form or another declaration indicating their objection to the contraceptive coverage violates their religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In effect, they want a complete exemption, which means leaving their thousands of employees and students without access to critical health services entirely. It is clear that this litigation is actually about imposing one set of moral views on others, even if it disregards the will of individuals who work for and study at those institutions.

We, the undersigned members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, express our support for the right of all workers, students and their dependents to access contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They have the right to make personal decisions based on their own beliefs. Religious freedom is not a weapon to carve out rights for some while imposing beliefs on others. Broad exemptions from laws—meant to protect the rights, health, dignity and equality of individuals—interfere with the exercise of personal conscience and religious liberty and harm people by preventing them from obtaining services. We reject the petitioners’ attempts to impose their ideas about religion on others, as well as their attempts to block employees’ and students’ health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Such exemptions undermine equality, impede personal decision-making and jeopardize students’ and workers’ well-being. 

The Coalition for Liberty & Justice represents a diverse cross-section of communities, including faith-based, secular and student groups and organizations, as well as those dedicated to LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, the separation of church and state, civil rights and reproductive rights and justice. We are united in our belief that public policies should both respect religious liberty and protect against the use of religious beliefs to discriminate or undermine equality. We believe that true religious liberty respects individuals, supports the common good and reflects the foundational principles of our nation. 

We strongly support the rights of students, workers and their dependents to follow their consciences, moral codes and beliefs when making decisions about sexual and reproductive rights, including contraception. We oppose the petitioners’ request for an exemption that will leave many individuals bereft of both rights and health benefits. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the challenges to the accommodation of the contraceptive coverage benefit. 

Signed, 


American Atheists American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Humanist Association

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Call To Action 

Catholics for Choice

Center for Inquiry

Concerned Clergy for Choice

CORPUS

DignityUSA

Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America

Ibis Reproductive Health

Institute for Science and Human Values

Interfaith Alliance

Jewish Women International

Keshet

Medical Students for Choice

MergerWatch

Methodist Federation for Social Action

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Council of Jewish Women 

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

National Organization for Women

New Ways Ministry

Political Research Associates

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Religious Institute

Reproductive Health Access Project 

Reproductive Health Technologies Project

Secular Coalition for America

Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual




Media Contacts

  
American Civil Liberties Union
Allison Steinberg  
212‐549‐2540
asteinberg@aclu.org

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Robert Boston, director of communications
202‐466‐3234, ext. 214

Catholics for Choice  
Carolyn Browender
202‐986‐6093
cbrowender@cathlolicsforchoice.org

Keshet
Idit Klein, executive director
617‐524‐9227, ext. 105
idit@keshetonline.org

National Center for Lesbian Rights  
Erik Olvera, director of communications  
415‐365‐1324
EOlvera@NCLRights.org

National LGBTQ Task Force  
Jorge Amaro, media and public relations director
213‐842‐7564
jamaro@thetaskforce.org

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
RaeAnn Roca Pickett, senior director of communications & public affairs
202‐621‐1409  
Raeann@latinainstitute.org  

New Ways Ministry
Francis DeBernardo, executive director
240‐432‐2489

Religious Institute  
Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner, president and CEO  
203‐222‐0055
haffner@religiousinstitute.org  

Reproductive Health Access Project
Lisa Maldonado, executive director  
212‐206‐5247  
lisa@reproductiveaccess.org

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Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.