Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States began hearing oral arguments in the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores in order to determine whether or not the store must provide female employees with access to contraception, of which all forms are guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. The main question in the case is really whether or not corporations have religious freedom as a person, which the owners of Hobby Lobby claim they do (technically, under the ruling of Citizen’s United, corporate personhood is a thing….).
This whole situation became an ordeal when the Green family – the owners of Hobby Lobby – found out that their company was offering insurance plans covering emergency contraception and IUDs, which, they claim, violates their religious beliefs as Mennonites, as these end life after conception.
The Green family runs their stores according to Christian principals and has from the start, which they feel substantiates their argument. They play religious music in their stores, advertise their religious beliefs and close on Sundays. However, they state that it is not mandatory for their employees to be religious.
Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not the Greens can claim that their company should have religious freedoms, which is sure to set the precedent in future cases.
Maybe I have a bias as a woman and as a person who is not particularly religious, but I am leaning more towards the Obama administration’s argument that the Affordable Care Act places no burden on Hobby Lobby or the Greens to do anything. It is an individual decision to take birth control or pick which kind of birth control to take or to take the day after pill in an emergency.
Regardless of the outcome of this particular case, the Obama Administration shouldn’t be too concerned about the Affordable Care Act. Lyle Denniston, of SCOTUSblog says that the ACA is the law of the land and that this case cannot change that.
“The nation’s politics, and many of its legislatures (including Congress), are absorbed with debates over whether to keep the law, to amend it, to render it unenforceable, or to repeal it altogether. None of that depends upon the outcome of this case. The Court has not been asked to strike down any part of the law, and it almost certainly won’t volunteer to do so. All that is at issue is who must obey the contraceptive mandate.”