The Union of Contraceptive Services and the Affordable Care Act Gives Birth to First Amendment Concerns

43 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2013 Last revised: 21 May 2016

Date Written: November 27, 2013


In implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration promulgated regulations requiring that covered health plans provide free contraceptive services to insured women. This requirement spawned more than fifty lawsuits by for-profit and not-for-profit entities which claimed that the government could not compel them to violate their religious beliefs by funding these services. The outcome of these lawsuits will impact entities with religious affiliations, companies owned by individuals with strong religious beliefs, and the many women employed by these entities who use contraceptive services.

This article provides a foundation for the debate on contraceptive coverage. It starts with a brief history on the use of contraceptives, the preventive services for women in the ACA, the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate, and the current accommodation for religiously-affiliated institutions. The article then addresses some of the major free exercise of religion claims brought by religiously-affiliated organizations eligible for the accommodation under the Act and by for-profit commercial businesses that are required to comply with the contraceptive mandate without the benefit of an accommodation.

Keywords: Contraceptive Mandate, contraception, First Amendment, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, Affordable Care Act

JEL Classification: K30, K29, K19, K32, K20, K10, K39

Suggested Citation

Tenenbaum, Evelyn, The Union of Contraceptive Services and the Affordable Care Act Gives Birth to First Amendment Concerns (November 27, 2013). Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 23, No. 3, p. 539, 2013, Albany Law School Research Paper No. 9 for 2013-2014, Available at SSRN:

Evelyn Tenenbaum (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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