Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Contraception Requirement Case Headed to Court

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Contraception Requirement Case Headed to Court

Article excerpt

The family that runs the 578-store, Oklahoma City-based chain of Hobby Lobby stores has made a powerful argument against the Affordable Care Act's requirement that its employee health insurance include all forms of FDA-approved contraceptive care.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would listen to that argument. If the high court ends up agreeing with a June ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, it will strike a blow against Obamacare.

That result is not assured. Hobby Lobby's objections are on religious grounds, and lower courts have been divided on similar cases brought on behalf of other employers.

In fact, the Supreme Court also agreed to hear a similar case involving a family-owned cabinet maker, which the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled could not raise a religious objection to the ACA's contraceptive requirement.

Last year, the Obama administration scored a big win for its signature health-care law when the Supreme Court approved a provision requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance coverage or face financial penalties.

The Hobby Lobby case will be more difficult for the Obama team. Still, it's important to remember that both cases involve specific parts of the law - and the latest one a very specific set of circumstances for Hobby Lobby.

Just as last year's "individual mandate" ruling did not preclude other challenges to ACA requirements, a ruling on behalf of Hobby Lobby would not invalidate the entire law.

Hobby Lobby patriarch David Green started the company in his garage in 1970. It's still operated by the Green family and is one of the nation's largest private companies.

First on the list of goals on Hobby Lobby's website is this: "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles."

Hobby Lobby has bought full-page ads inviting people to "know Jesus as Lord and Savior."

Most important to their case is the Greens' belief that human life begins when sperm fertilizes an egg. And in the words of the 10th Circuit ruling, "the Greens believe it is immoral for them to facilitate any act that causes the death of a human embryo. …

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