Yesterday, March 25, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the religious liberty issues at stake with the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare): Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
What are these important cases about?
Obamacare requires that businesses provide health care for their employees, and that health care must include coverage for all contraceptives, at no cost to the employees.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties have stated that they don’t have a problem covering most forms of birth control for their employees, but their religious beliefs do not support the use of emergency contraceptives meant for use after conception because they believe that the result of these emergency contraceptives is an abortion.
The question that these companies are presenting to the court is – do for-profit businesses have the right to exercise the religious beliefs of their owners in the workplace? At issue in the Hobby Lobby case is whether a federal law passed in 1993 called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects Hobby Lobby from being forced to pay for emergency contraception.
At issue in the Conestoga case is whether the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the company from being forced to pay for emergency contraception.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are joined by at least 45 other for-profit companies that have brought cases to trial regarding the contraception mandate of Obamacare. In addition, there are separate cases right now that focus on the rights of religiously-affiliated organizations and the mandate.
It will likely be a few months before we hear a decision from the Supreme Court in these cases. In the meantime,please pray for the companies as they continue to stand up for religious liberty.