The Court and the Carcinogenic War on Women

by Dorinda C. Bordlee, Nikolas T. Nikas

In the early days of the HHS mandate forcing even religious objectors to provide free coverage for contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs, our NRO post titled “Three Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate” pointed to evidence establishing that the mandated contraceptive drugs are carcinogenic.

And now, the most prestigious federal appeals court has taken judicial notice of this fact as well.

Citing Bioethics Defense Fund’s amicus brief, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is the first court to recognize that the World Health Organization classifies certain contraceptives required by the HHS mandate as carcinogenic. This completely undermines the government’s claims that the drugs “promote women’s health” and must therefore be provided by all employers, regardless of religious objection.

As stated in the decision written by Judge Janice Rogers Brown, ruling in favor of the Gilardi brothers, owners of Freshway Foods:

Equally unconvincing is the government’s assertion that the mandate averts “negative health consequences for both the woman and the developing fetus.” From the outset, we note the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government’s cause. For the potential mother, as one amicus notes, the World Health Organization classifies certain oral contraceptives as carcinogens, marked by an increased risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancers. Br. of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, at 8–9.

BDF’s amicus brief on behalf of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, the Coalition for Abortion Breast Cancer, and the Polycarp Research Institute surveys the most recent peer-reviewed medical studies showing the alarmingly increased health risks of oral contraceptives, injections, implants, and IUDs.

In addition to its disregard for religious-liberty rights, the Obama administration has shown a shocking lack of respect for women’s health and their rights to full disclosure of serious medical risks. The D.C. Circuit’s recognition of the carcinogenic classification of the mandated drugs suggests that the real war on women is not being waged by those who oppose the mandate, but rather by those who are coercively imposing it. (See a fact sheet on the health risks, the D.C. Circuit opinion, and the BDF Gilardi amicus brief here.)

— Dorinda C. Bordlee and Nikolas T. Nikas are co-founders of Bioethics Defense Fund, a public-interest legal and educational organization whose mission is to put law in the service of life.