SCOTUS Issues No Decision in Birth Control Coverage Case, Sends it Back to the Lower Courts

This morning, the Supreme Court released its decision in the case Zubik v. Burwell, expressing no opinion on any of the questions in the case, and sending it back to the lower courts to decide again. Zubik asked the Court to decide the question of whether nonprofit religious schools and employers can object to their employees receiving insurance coverage for contraceptive care.


Advocates for Youth is deeply disappointed that the Court did not find in favor of the government, to affirm the rights of the thousands of young women and students who rely on their schools or employers for insurance coverage. All young people have a right to contraceptive care, and the Affordable Care Act made it law that this care be provided at no additional cost. This right continues to be challenged by people who seek to deprive contraceptive coverage to others based on their own religious convictions.

However, we remain optimistic that the lower courts will again affirm these rights. Nine courts ruled on the subject before it reached the Supreme Court, and eight of them said that nonprofit religious employers and schools could not stand in the way of contraceptive coverage. Writing separately, Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg added a statement that reaffirmed their support for seamless contraceptive coverage under the ACA, and calling on the lower courts to again be thoughtful and deliberate about examining barriers to this vital care.

Advocates for Youth staff and activists fully and unequivocally support the right of all young people to access affordable, hassle-free reproductive healthcare that best meets their needs; and will continue to advocate with courts, policymakers, and the public, until this right becomes a reality.