Religious Objections and the Provision of Contraception Under Employer-Based Insurance Programs

Affordable Care Act, contraception, contraceptive, Obamacare, religious freedomThe Supreme Court of the United States has a very important case before it that could have a big impact on the obligations on an employer’s duty to deliver health insurance for its employees. The Supreme Court must determine whether for-profit corporations can refuse to provide contraception coverage, as required under the Affordable Care Act, because of religious objections. The attorneys here at the Gierach Law Firm in Naperville, Illinois are carefully watching this case in order to determine what effect the Supreme Court’s ruling will have on small business owners in Illinois and throughout the rest of the country.

The Case Against Hobby Lobby

Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. are two cases that were consolidated into one case so that the Supreme Court could make a uniform determination on the main issue present within both cases, ie. whether a for-profit corporation can deny the provision of contraception for health care benefits provided under federally mandated employer insurance plans.

The Hobby Lobby corporation has over 13,000 employees with over 500 arts and crafts stores throughout the country. Under the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby is required to provide the morning after pill, IUDs and other forms of contraception as part of its employer provided health insurance plan. Hobby Lobby objects to the requirement that they provide these forms of contraception, because they view them as a form of early term abortion, the support of which is against the Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religion.

 The Importance of the Supreme Court’s Decision

The legal community is carefully watching the outcome of this case, which began in front of the Supreme Court earlier this month. A ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby could present significant difficulties in the future enforcement of the Affordable Care Act, as well as for other civil rights and health law issues. If this religious objection is allowed to stand, it could pave the way for employers having the right to refuse to comply with minimum wage laws, sex discrimination laws, and family leave regulations using religious objections as the basis for their noncompliance.

The fact that all of the contraception at issue is for women, and not men, also raises significant issues regarding the rights of women to access contraception. A ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby could have the result of allowing employers throughout the country to deny contraception for all of their female employees because of religious objections.

The Hobby Lobby religious objection case before the Supreme Court has not yet been decided. The spirited debate currently taking place in Washington regarding the issue of an employer’s right to refuse to provide contraception because of religious objections could have a significant impact on the rights of small business owners throughout Illinois. Contact the small business law attorneys here at The Gierach Law Firm in Naperville, Illinois for help with any issues or questions you may have regarding business law.