The Short Version: Contraception Coverage

The Short Version: Contraception Coverage

Last week, Cleo Abram talked about the ripples in the water across the pond: Brits are split about whether to stay or exit the European Union. This week the big issue is closer to home: contraception is once again – or still–  making waves. Check out Cleo’s incisive summary in “The Short Version.”

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “The Short Version,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

What’s happening?

The Supreme Court may be facing its first major 4-4 split since Justice Scalia’s death in an crucial case on contraception and religious freedom.

This past Wednesday, March 23, the Court heard oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, which pits faith-based institutions’ objection to providing contraception coverage against a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare).

A 4-4 split ruling would leave the previous lower court’s ruling in place, protecting the ACA.


Why is it important?

The case is key to answering: what exemptions should religious institutions receive, and what burdens can that place on others?

Importantly, the section of the ACA in question is not its general contraception coverage requirement. That mandate already completely exempts churches and other houses or worship, and offers a conditional exemption to religious nonprofits like the plaintiffs. The latter also applies to “closely-held” for-profit corporations with similar objections, after the 2014 case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. These two groups may fill out a two-page form citing their objection, and a third party will cover employees contraception at no cost to the employer.

The plaintiffs, including a group of Catholic nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor, argue that filling out this form violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because it requires them to facilitate access to birth control.


Debate it!

Should religious nonprofits be completely exempt from providing contraception coverage?

Continue reading here.

Why “The Short Version” on TIO:


Eight years ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this new weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance. (Though we won’t go political, or rather we won’t show bias in the upcoming election.)

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.


More about Cleo Constantine Abram:

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm born of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski!

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