Health Care Providers Object to Religious Exemptions Sought By For-Profit Companies for Contraceptive Coverage Rule
File brief in Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius arguing that allowing an exemption interferes with a patient’s relationship with her health care provider and would have ramifications beyond contraception
New York, NY—Today major groups representing a wide spectrum of health care providers are filing a brief in the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case currently before the Supreme Court. These four groups, Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Nurses Association (ANA), all object to the religious exemption being sought by for-profit companies.
“Contraception is essential to women’s health and to public health. We are united in defending access to this critical component of preventive care,” said Physicians Board Chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH. “Medical evidence and patient choice—not the private beliefs of an employer—should drive the care a woman receives. An exemption could keep the most effective methods of contraception that have higher upfront costs, out of reach of millions nationwide, especially hourly and low-wage workers. Allowing an exemption could also impact care beyond contraception. Rather than the public health steps forward we all know we need, it would be a huge step back for the health of women and families.”
“Access to contraception is an essential component of health care for women,” said ACOG President Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD. “Women should be able to make their own personal medical decisions in consultation with their physicians, without interference by outside parties. Employers have no legitimate role in deciding whether their employees use contraceptives and should not be permitted to interfere in the patient-physician relationship.”
“From childhood immunizations and developmental screenings to counseling parents about child safety, preventive care is at the core of pediatrics,” said AAP President James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP. “Exempting a private employer from one of the Affordable Care Act‘s preventive coverage requirements can have dire consequences that extend far beyond contraception. A pediatrician‘s recommendations should determine which preventive services children and adolescents receive. Interfering with this doctor-patient relationship would set a dangerous precedent that puts children‘s health at risk.”
“The law is clear and helps protect the health and well-being of women and their families through access to critical preventive health care services,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Private employers should not be allowed to circumvent the law and deny care based on individual beliefs.”