The Atlantic

The Unintended Consequences of the Contraceptive Mandate

Its exclusion of men perpetuates harmful stereotypes. The most obvious one is that birth control is a woman’s responsibility.
Source: Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

In 1971, the Supreme Court for the first time struck down a law under the Constitution’s equal-protection clause that treated men and women differently. Courts since then have invalidated countless laws that discriminated on the basis of sex. Bucking convention, advocates frequently attacked laws that were designed to benefit women under the theory that such laws perpetuated harmful sex stereotypes that “put women, not on a pedestal, but in a cage.” Americans now take for granted that the government acts illegally when it creates self-fulfilling legislation that presumes women are caregivers or do not work outside the home.

Nevertheless, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the government in 2011—the very group the mandate was designed to benefit—and constitutes illegal sex discrimination. The only equitable remedy is to extend the mandate’s benefits to men.

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