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December 12, 2017

Contraceptive Coverage and the Balance Between Conscience and Access

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2017;318(22):2179-2180. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17086

When the Obama administration included contraception in the essential benefits package to be covered by employer-sponsored health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, it sought to preserve access for women while addressing the concerns of employers with religious objections. Although the accommodations and exemptions were not enough for some employers, balance was the ultimate goal. This also was reflected in Zubik v Burwell, the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on the matter; on May 16, 2016, the justices remanded the litigants to the lower court so they could be afforded the opportunity to reach a compromise between religious exercise and seamless contraceptive coverage. No further compromise was forthcoming.

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