The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed a new court brief arguing that requiring contraceptive coverage in insurance plans doesn't violate the rights of religious employers.
The brief was in response to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Nashville by the Catholic Diocese of Nashville and other local groups, which sued the U.S. government over the new healthcare law which requires employers to cover contraceptive methods. The diocese argued that the law violates the religious freedom of religious employers whose belief systems hold that life begins at conception, making contraceptive drugs morally wrong.
The ACLU counters that the law means only that the diocese must send a letter to its health provider noting such a moral objection to contraceptives, which would then require the insurer to pay for such services. The ACLU also argues that barring access to contraception would discriminate against women.
"Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and everyone is entitled to their religious beliefs," said Jennifer Lee, national ACLU staff attorney, in a statement. "But that does not give employers a free pass to interfere with the rights of their employees or to impose their religious beliefs on others."