Helen Alvare: Where Are the Women?

This week’s Supreme Court argument in the Little Sisters of the Poor case featured an impassioned statement by Justice Ginsburg about contraception. Several times during the argument, she claimed that the federal regulations offering religious freedom for the Little Sisters and others “tossed to the wind” congressional intent to provide women free contraception. She invoked the specter of desperate women spending scarce time and money searching for affordable contraception beyond the confines of their health insurance.

It was encouraging that Justice Ginsburg was able to join the Court’s argument by telephone from her hospital room; her voice was strong and her arguments impassioned. But she didn’t appear to understand that, even now, the states involved in the current litigation have no evidence that any woman has been unable to get contraception because of any kind of health-insurance exemption, religious or otherwise. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any woman who has been “tossed to the wind” at all.

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