Reuters is reporting that Supreme Court will consider religious objections made by Hobby Lobby and others to provide health insurance that covers birth control. Oral Arguments are set for March 2014 with a ruling sometime in June 2014.
The so-called contraception mandate of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that include preventive services for women that include access to contraception and sterilization.
The key question before the court in the two cases it agreed to hear is whether corporations should be treated the same as individuals when making free exercise of religion claims under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and a 1993 federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Court granted review of a government case (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores) and a private business case (Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius). Taking the Conestoga plea brought before the Court the claim that both religious owners of a business and the business itself have religious freedom rights, based both on the First Amendment and on RFRA. The Hobby Lobby case was keyed to rights under RFRA.
Statement by the Press Secretary Regarding Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
The health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventive care, like cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to consider a legal challenge to the health care law’s requirement that for-profit corporations include birth control coverage in insurance available to their employees. We believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women’s health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.
We do not comment on specifics of a case pending before the Court. As a general matter, our policy is designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor. The President believes that no one, including the government or for-profit corporations, should be able to dictate those decisions to women. The Administration has already acted to ensure no church or similar religious institution will be forced to provide contraception coverage and has made a commonsense accommodation for non-profit religious organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds. These steps protect both women’s health and religious beliefs, and seek to ensure that women and families–not their bosses or corporate CEOs–can make personal health decisions based on their needs and their budgets.
- Supreme Court will take up new health law dispute (cnsnews.com)
- President Obama’s Healthcare Law is Headed Back to the Supreme Court Over Companies’ Religious Objections to Birth-control Mandate. (blackchristiannews.com)
- SCOTUS to Hear Birth Control Mandate Cases, White House Sounds Off (pjmedia.com)