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Debate: The Contraception Mandate and Religious Freedom

22 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2013  

Caroline Mala Corbin

University of Miami School of Law

Steven Douglas Smith

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: June 14, 2013

Abstract

In this online exchange, Steven D. Smith and Caroline Mala Corbin debate the wisdom of religious exemptions from the contraception mandate.

Professor Smith argues that as applied to objecting religious employers, the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and that contrary arguments are better understood as taking a position against rather than under RFRA. In his conclusion, Prof. Smith argues that free exercise extends to religious associations and institutions, not just to religious individuals.

Professor Corbin disagrees on both points. First, one need not oppose RFRA to conclude that it does not require exemptions from the contraception mandate. Not every asserted burden amounts to the type of substantial burden that RFRA was designed to accommodate. Second, granting extensive religious liberty rights to employers, whether corporations or their owners, overlooks the rights of their less privileged and less powerful employees.

Keywords: religious liberty, free exercise, RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, health care, health insurance, contraception, contraception mandate, abortion, reproductive rights, corporations, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Corbin, Caroline Mala and Smith, Steven Douglas, Debate: The Contraception Mandate and Religious Freedom (June 14, 2013). University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online, Vol. 161, No. 261, 2013; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 13-125. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2279463

Caroline Mala Corbin (Contact Author)

University of Miami School of Law ( email )

1311 Miller Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

Steven Douglas Smith

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-7969 (Phone)
619-260-2492 (Fax)

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