black women

Obamacare Contraception Arguments Heard By Supreme Court

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obamacare supreme courtBy Andrew Scot Bolsinger

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in two separate cased that could determine if employers can be exempt from the Affordable Care Act on religious grounds.

The legal issue covering both cases is known as the Hobby Lobby case, as one plaintiff is Hobby Lobby Stores. The other is Conestoga Wood Specialties. Both are suing Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, the organization that launched President Barack Obama’s mandatory healthcare legislation.

The plaintiffs want to be exempted from having to provide health care for employees as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.  They will argue that the mandate’s health insurance includes contraception, which they oppose on religious grounds.

“There are those who believe that a victory for employers in the two cases would open a Pandora’s box, with the ultimate result that employers could pick and choose what they would not cover—even something such as cancer treatment—if they determined that offering a particular coverage would offend religious beliefs,” the Root’s blogger Keli Goff reported.

But according to Goff, the issue is especially important for black women who are both statistically less likely to use emergency contraception like Plan B and face the most economic and health care impediments to regular contraception. Low-income teens have the most difficult time.

“Access and cost remain significant barriers, with resulting long-term effects on black women and their communities,” Goff wrote.

Because black women are statistically more likely to be the victims of sexual assault, Goff argues that access to emergency contraception is even more critical.

“While pharmacies in underserved communities are just as likely to stock the morning-after pill as pharmacies in more affluent ones, researchers from Boston Medical Center found that pharmacists in poorer areas were more often misinformed about the law and mistakenly were denying 17-year-old girls access to Plan B,” a Boston medical study found.

Plan B, the most popular form of emergency contraception, is supposed to be available over the counter for women of all ages, while others are available only with a prescription, Goff reports.

Goff writes that Intrauterine devices, while the most expensive are statistically one of the more effective forms of birth control, even in some instances when inserted immediately after unprotected sex. That makes them the most controversial for Catholics, Goff writes, who are the most outspoken so far about ObamaCare’s contraception provision.

Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at


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