Contraceptive Coverage Mandate under ReviewThe Paralegal Resource
November 27, 2013 — 1,500 views
The Supreme Court of the U.S recently agreed to take into consideration the challenges that have been raised against Affordable Care Act introduced by President Obama. The court will decide on whether employers who have religious objections can refuse providing mandate contraceptive insurance coverage to their workers or not.
The court has accepted two cases which ask complex questions related to religious freedom as well as equality of female workers. Another issue that has not been confronted by the court yet regards whether for profit secular organizations will be expected to comply with the law by the federal statute or Constitution just because of the religious beliefs of their owners.
A look at the challenges in detail
One of these challenges were raised by David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, which is an arts and crafts store. The chain store runs on biblical principles. U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver has said that compelling the company in complying with this mandate would lead to violation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This act was brought out in 1993 to provide special protection to safeguard religious expression.
However, the opinion seemed divided as the court partly relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. The Supreme Court in this case had said that organizations have the right of political speech just like individuals.
Judge Timothy Tymkovich said that there is no reason which would make the Supreme Court identify the constitutional protection rights of a corporation for its political expression and freedom but not for its religious expression.
However the second case did not follow in the same manner. A panel from U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia stated that Conestoga Wood Specialties will have to comply with the mandate on contraceptive insurance cover. The company in the case is involved in the business of making cabinets.
The religious freedom act does not allow the federal government to impose a burden on the religious exercise of a person until it does not have a compelling governmental interest.
The court has said that these cases will be united next year in March for an oral argument. The Supreme Court in June 2012 supported the basic foundation of what is known as Obamacare today. This policy requires majority of Americans to opt for health insurance coverage. In case they don’t go for it, they will have to pay a penalty.