Contraception Cases

Does an employer have the right to refuse contraceptives to their employees?

The United States Supreme Court said Tuesday that they will take up the controversial cases involving whether or not for-profit companies can ban birth control coverage based on religious principles.

Dozens of companies are suing the Obama Administration over the Affordable Care Act’s law stating that most employers have to offer full contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plans. Only churches and not-for-profit religious organizations are exempt.

The high court last year upheld the key funding provision of the health care law, commonly referred to as the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to purchase insurance or face a financial penalty. This time they will decide if employer mandates will be held to the same rules as individuals.

Christian-owned craft giant Hobby Lobby is one of the two plaintiffs whose cases against the administration will be to taken to the high court. Last year’s open letter from owner David Green underscores his family’s grievance with the new law, stating, “It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines.”

Conestoga Wood Specialities Corporation, a Pennsylvania based furniture company owned by Mennonites, will also have their case heard by the Supreme Court.

Judy Waxman, vice president of health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center, worries about the future of women’s rights if the court is to side with both companies.

“Should the court decide that this service is something bosses can decide for their employees, what else can bosses decide?” said Waxman. “Can they decide they don’t want to cover vaccines or HIV medications? Can they say, ‘I don’t believe in these kinds of wage and hour rules?’ To say, ‘Yes, a corporation can impose its religion on employees’ — that can have very far-reaching implications.”

The White House released a statement saying they believe the Supreme Court will agree that this law is vital in putting women and families in control of their health care by offering preventative care, such as cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga will find out if that is the case next spring. Both Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius will be heard together.

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