The Supreme Court Is Not Doing Its Job

Slate, online 19 May 2016
Author: Dhalia Lithwick
“On the merits, Monday’s Supreme Court unsigned opinion in Zubik v. Burwell, a vitally important contraception mandate case, is being read by some as a win for the Little Sisters of the Poor because the court didn’t brush off their claims that notifying the government they are unable to cover contraception for employees, thereby enabling insurers to do so, burdens their religious freedom. Others are hailing it as a big win for the Obama administration, which will get most of what it wanted if the Little Sisters can live with the court’s proposed compromise, including “seamless” health coverage for women employees. Really, though, Zubik—which raised crucial questions about whether one person’s religious freedom can trump a worker’s entitlement to preventative healthcare—is mainly just an inkblot for the ages; a placeholder until a real court can be reconstituted to do its job.”
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Mandating Disclosure of Conscience-Based Limitations on Medical Practice

American Journal of Law & Medicine March 2016 vol. 42 no. 1 85-128
Author: Nadia N. Sawicki
“Stakeholders in law, medicine, and religion are unable to reach consensus about how best to address conflicts between healthcare providers’ conscientious objections to treatment and patients’ rights to access medical care. Conscience laws that protect objecting providers and institutions from liability are criticized as too broad by patient advocates and as too narrow by defenders of religious freedom. This article posits that some of the tension between these stakeholders could be mitigated by statutory recognition of a duty on the part of healthcare institutions or providers to disclose conscientiously motivated limitations on practice.”
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The law will not end infant circumcisions, but education just might

The Guardian, 21 April 2016
Author: Ally Fogg
“A judge’s remarks have reignited the debate on the practice. While banning it is no solution, the case for better information and regulation is incontrovertible. Across the world, attitudes towards routine or ritual infant circumcision are changing. Even among Jewish and Muslim communities, there is a small but growing movement to abandon the tradition. What right do or should parents have to impose permanent bodily alteration or, as many would call it, mutilation, on their own children? What rights do or should cultural communities have to preserve their own religious rites and customs?”
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Muslim man loses high court bid to have sons circumcised

The Guardian, 19 April 2016
“A devout Muslim has failed to persuade a high court judge to rule that his sons should be circumcised. The man, who was born in Algeria but lives in England, argued that circumcision would be in accordance with his “Muslim practice and religious beliefs” – and in the youngsters’ best interests. But the boys’ mother, who grew up in Devon and is separated from their father, disagreed.”
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Letting them die: parents refuse medical help for children in the name of Christ

The Guardian, online 14 April 2016
Author: Jason Wilson
“The Followers of Christ is a religious sect that preaches faith healing in states such as Idaho, which offers a faith-based shield for felony crimes – despite alarming child mortality rates among these groups”
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U.S. top court seeks more information in contraception insurance case

Reuters, 29 March 2016
Author: Lawrence Hurley
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday asked both sides for new information in a challenge by Christian nonprofit employers to a mandate under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law to provide insurance to female workers covering birth control, indicating the justices are struggling to decide the closely watched case.”
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Zubik v. Burwell Oral Arguments

Zubik v. Burwell Oral Arguments: Under Contraceptive Coverage Accommodation, Conscientious Objectors Or Collaborators?

Health Affairs blog, online 24 March 2016
Author: Timothy Jost
“On March 23, 2016 the Supreme Court once again heard oral arguments in a case involving the Affordable Care Act. The case, Zubik v. Burwell, does not involve a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute, as did National Federation of Independent Business v. Burwell, or even a claim that the government has violated the Affordable Care Act in its implementation of the statute, as did King v. Burwell, but rather a claim that a particular regulation implementing a particular provision of the ACA violates a separate statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”
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Female genital ‘nicks’ should be legal: gynaecologists

Reuters, 22 February 2016
Author: Emma Batha
“Countries that have banned female genital mutilation (FGM) should allow less invasive practices such as small surgical nicks to girls’ genitalia as a compromise, two American gynaecologists said on Monday. But campaigners against FGM strongly criticized the proposal, saying it would undermine global efforts to eradicate the internationally condemned ritual.”
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Why a Catholic hospital shouldn’t be obliged to do a tubal ligation

LATimes, 18 January 2016
Author: Charles C. Camosy
“Mercy Hospital in Redding — citing its commitment to church teaching — has refused to tie the tubes of one of their patients after a C-section delivery. A Superior Court judge in San Francisco has said the hospital can make that choice, but the ACLU is suing on behalf of the patient. This debate hinges on a central question in medical ethics: What is healthcare?”
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Supreme Court to Hear New Case on Contraception and Religion

NYT, 6 November 2015
Author: Adam Liptak
“The Supreme Court on Friday once again entered the conflict between religious freedom and access to contraception, taking up a case about whether some religious employers must provide free insurance coverage for birth control.”
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