Supreme Court To Hear Obamacare Contraception Mandate Dispute
A craft-store chain may end up being the thing that stands between you and contraception access. The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear a dispute over whether Obamacare's contraception mandate holds water. National craft-store chain Hobby Lobby is lobbying hard against the requirement to provide its employees access to health insurance that covers FDA-approved contraception. As the Affordable Care Act's rollout continues to struggle, SCOTUS will hear the case in March, and a decision is likely before June.
The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, contends that the law goes against their Christian religious beliefs. The family says it has "no moral objection" to many preventative contraceptives, but they cannot pay for drugs like Plan B and Ella, the morning-after and week-after pill.
A lower court has already ruled in Hobby Lobby's favor, arguing that the contraception mandate goes against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which states that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” — unless that burden serves a larger federal interest.
Hobby Lobby has a company-wide blue laws enforcement, as it is closed on Sundays for religious reasons. That's kind of refreshing in this overly materialistic and fast-paced world, right? Hm, not so fast — Hobby Lobby is also accused of being anti-Semitic and racist.
For those of you who have never actually been inside of a Hobby Lobby, just picture a giant warehouse that is a cross between your great-aunt's tchotchke collection and an episode of Craft Wars. Or a huge holiday bazaar that's thrown up your Girl Scout troop's worst arts and crafts projects. Either way, if you want to peruse through seven glittery aisles of Christmas decorations, have we got the place for you.
Even though the Affordable Health Care Act makes exceptions for many religious organizations and small businesses, it has not budged for large, for-profit companies. If the case goes in Hobby Lobby's favor, it would be "unprecedented" and could allow companies to deny health coverage to their employees — even though it's the law. Well, Paul Ryan and fellow GOP backers of the so-called "conscience clause" would be happy.
As ABC News explains:
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the definition of “person” under the law includes corporations regardless of their profit-making status. ... [But] the Obama administration defends the regulations arguing that the mandate promotes public health, and that for-profit corporate respondents — like Hobby Lobby — are not “persons” within the meaning of RFRA.
So an affirmative ruling could give corporations a "humanity," and a religion. After all, as Stephen Colbert's character has always said, "corporations are people."