On June 30th. The Supreme Court ruled that for profit corporations do have the religious freedom to not have to pay for abortifacient birth control. I read some of the Supreme Court document and put some of it on this blog. If want to read the whole long document you can find it here.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
As amended by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”
Since RFRA applies in these cases, we must decide whether the challenged HHS regulations substantially burden the exercise of religion, and we hold that they do. The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients. If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions, and if they do not comply, they will pay a very heavy price—as much as $1.3 million per day, or about $475 million per year, in the case of one of the companies. If these consequences do not amount to a substantial burden, it is hard to see what would.
Nonexempt employers are generally required to provide coverage for the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including the 4 that may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this contraceptive mandate. HHS has also effectively exempted religious nonprofit organizations with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services. Under this accommodation, the insurance issuer must exclude contraceptive coverage from the employer’s plan and provide plan participants with separate payments for contraceptive services without imposing any costsharing requirements on the employer, its insurance plan, or its employee beneficiaries.
Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. “Fifty years ago, Norman Hahn started a wood-working business in his garage, and since then, this company, (Conestoga Wood Specialties), has grown and now has 950 employees. Conestoga is organized under Pennsylvania law as a for-profit corporation. The Hahns exercise sole ownership of the closely held business; they control its board of directors and hold all of its voting shares. One of the Hahn sons serves as the president and CEO. The Hahns believe that they are required to run their business “in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral principles.”
The Hahns and Conestoga sued HHS and other federal officials and agencies under RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, seeking to enjoin application of ACA’s contraceptive mandate insofar as it requires them to provide health-insurance coverage for four FDA- approved contraceptives that may operate after the fertilization of an egg. These include two forms of emergency contraception commonly called “morning after” pills and two types of intrauterine devices.
The Mennonite Church opposes abortion and believes that “the fetus in its earliest stages . . . shares humanity with those who conceived it.”
It is therefore “against [their] moral conviction to be involved in the termination of human life” after conception, which they believe is a “sin against God to which they are held accountable.” The Hahns have accordingly excluded from the group health insurance plan they offer to their employees certain contraceptive methods that they consider to be abortifacients.”
Hobby Lobby. “David and Barbara Green and their three children are Christians who own and operate two family businesses. Forty-five years ago, David Green started an arts-and- crafts store that has grown into a nationwide chain called Hobby Lobby. There are now 500 Hobby Lobby stores, and the company has more than 13,000 employees. Hobby Lobby is organized as a for-profit corpora- tion under Oklahoma law.
They specifically object to the same four contraceptive methods as the Hahns and, like the Hahns, they have no objection to the other 16 FDA-approved methods of birth control.” (As traditional Catholics, we know that all forms of birth control is against God’s laws).
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops came out with this statement:
“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.