Hobby Lobby Amicus: HHS Mandate Requires Carcinogenic Contraceptives


  • The amicus brief demonstrates how the HHS Mandate that violates the free exercise rights of individuals, business owners and their companies also fails to “further” the asserted compelling governmental interest in promoting women’s “preventive” healthcare.
  • A robust body of widely-accepted research that the Government selectively ignored is surveyed in the amicus brief, showing that certain contraceptive drugs significantly increase risks of breast, cervical and liver cancer, as well as significantly increasing risks of other serious diseases, including HIV, stroke and heart attack.  The brief cites to the 2007 report of the World Health Organization, which classified the combined oral contraceptive pill as “Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans” as to breast, cervical and liver cancer. [FACT SHEET]
  • Amici Legatus and CatholicVote members also have an interest as amici because sterilization, contraception and abortifacient drugs must be provided  without cost-sharing to enrollees and their female dependents who have “reproductive capacity.” In addition to be capable of destroying the life of a human being at the embryonic stage of development, the HHS Mandate also provides free access to Amici’s minor daughters who have reached the stage of menstruation.  Studies show that free access to even emergency contraceptives increases risky and uncommitted sexual behavior, thus increasing unintended pregnancy and STDs, as well as undermining the Catholic moral duty of a parent to guide their children concerning the right ordering of human sexuality.

DC CIRCUIT CITES BRIEF ON CANCER RISKS: On November 1, 2013, the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Gilardi v. Sebelius expressly cited BDF’s amicus brief to recognize that the Government has selectively ignored research that the mandated drugs are not women’s “preventive” healthcare because they increase risk of cancer and serious disease.  The Government has even ignored the classification by the World Health Organization’s international research team, which has repeatedly designated certain contraceptive pills as “Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans.”  As stated by Judge Brown in the majority decision:

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.   On the other hand, the contraceptives at issue have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, supported by research touting their benefits. See Op. of Edwards, J., at 30. This tug-of-war gives us pause because the government has neither acknowledged nor resolved these contradictory claims.

See p. 26 of the Full Decision.

Read the DC Circuit version of the BDF amicus brief filed May 2013 on behalf of Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, Abortion Breast Cancer Coalition and the Polycarp Research Institute.

  • SUPREME COURT AMICUS BRIEF in HOBBY LOBBY/CONESTOGA CASE: FILEDBDFHobbyLobbySCOTUS – Filed on behalf of cancer research organizations, CatholicVote and 286 Members of Legatus (January 28, 2014).

Since September 2012, BDF has filed over sixteen amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and in federal courts around the nation addressing how the purported government interest in promoting women’s “preventive” medicine is undermined by alarmingly increased cancer and other health risks. The burdens of the HHS Mandate on free exercise of religion cannot be justified under this false interest, and are therefore in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Bioethics Defense Fund


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The mission of Bioethics Defense Fund is to strategically advocate for the fundamental human right to life by applying the relevant legal, scientific and medical arguments in light of the natural law and the dignity of the human person. BDF was co-founded in 2005 by Nikolas T. Nikas, president and general counsel, and Dorinda C. Bordlee, vice president and senior counsel.


Dorinda C. Bordlee, dbordlee@bdfund.org, (504) 231-7234

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