For those of you in or near DC, Georgetown Law Center will be hosting a conference later this week on the contraception mandate. dotCommonweal's own Cathy Kaveny and MOJ's Rob Vischer (along with many others in a really terrific lineup) will participate. Here's the announcement:

Contraception and Conscience: A Symposium on Religious Liberty, Womens Health, and the HHS Rule on Provision of Birth Control Coverage for Employees

Georgetown University Law Center

McDonough Hall

Philip A. Hart Auditorium

600 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.Washington, DC

Friday, September 21, 2012

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

A conference examining the legal, theological, health, equality, and ethical issues relating to the recent Rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Coverage of Preventive Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.The symposium brings together legal, religious, and cultural scholars and practitioners for a day-long conversation about the increasingly contentious public debate surrounding the HHS Rule requiring employers to subsidize preventive health services for employees, the religious accommodations in the HHS rule, and the lawsuits filed by religious objectors challenging the rule. [Details after the jump.]

Continental Breakfast8:30-9:00 Introduction9:00-9:10 Dean William M. Treanor, Georgetown University Law CenterPanel One 9:10-10:45The Legal Challenges to the HHS Contraception Rule. What is the nature of the HHS Rule and its religious accommodations? What is the status of the more than two dozen lawsuits challenging the HHS Rule? How are the courts likely to resolve the statutory and constitutional issues? How do claims of religious conscience apply to institutional employers, including for-profit employers? What are the relevant state interestsshould the Rule be viewed as simply about enabling access to preventive health care, or also about ensuring equality in the workplace? How do these cases reflect broader trends in the development of the law of religious liberty? How should HHS frame its promised additional religious accommodation?Panelists Martin Lederman, Georgetown University Law CenterLouise Melling, American Civil Liberties UnionMelissa Rogers,Wake Forest University Divinity School, Center for Religion and Public AffairsRobert Vischer, University of St. Thomas School of LawLori Windham, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Panel Two 11:00-12:45

What is the Burden on Religious Exercise? Does the HHS Rule put religious employers to an untenable choice between obeying the law and honoring religious obligations, and if so, how? Does it require individuals or entities to cooperate with evil in a manner that their faith forbids? Does compliance with the law prevent them from bearing witness to their faith or create scandal by conveying endorsement of activities to which the employer morally objects?Panelists Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston CollegePatrick Deneen, University of Notre DameCathleen Kaveny, University of Notre DameMichael Kessler, Georgetown UniversityJohn Langan, S.J., Georgetown UniversityRobert Tuttle, George Washington University School of Law

Panel Three 2:15-4:00

A Broader Focus. How and why did this particular issue engender such concern and controversy? What are the historical antecedents? What does it tell us about how religious communities and institutions (especially those involved in provision of education and social services) can and should navigate rapidly changing norms in the public square? What are the implications of this debate for preventive health services? For womens equality in the workplace and elsewhere in public life? What are the ethical implications for physicians and other health-care providers?Panelists Gregg Bloche, Georgetown University Law CenterTracy Fessenden, Arizona State UniversityEduardo Pealver, Cornell University Law SchoolRobin West, Georgetown University Law CenterRobin Fretwell Wilson, Washington & Lee University School of LawPlease RSVP by September 19 to [email protected]

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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